Were someone to have sat down before the 2013-14 Division I girls’ basketball season began – knowing that Londonderry High coaching legend John Fagula was calling it quits after the campaign - and designed the best possible way for Fagula to end his 32-year hoop coaching career, they couldn’t possibly have done any better than the way it actually worked out recently.
And a ripe, juicy cherry was placed on top of the Fagula sundae in the wake of his Londonderry High Lady Lancers’ D-I championship victory over the unbeaten and top-seeded Bedford Lady Bulldogs when it was announced that Fagula’s fellow Division I coaches had named him their 2013-14 coach of the year.
It was the 12th state championship for the retiring coach, who won 11 of those as the leader of the Nashua High School Lady Purple Panthers. Fagula and his Lady Panthers did as much if not more than anyone else to put New Hampshire girls’ high school basketball on the national map during the 1980s when they were nationally ranked and invited to play in major tournaments in different parts of the country. But after retiring from his Nashua High post and sitting out a few years, Fagula surprised plenty of folks by taking the coaching post at LHS for the 2003-04 season.
The Lady Lancers’ squads almost always ended up being top competitors in their division under Fagula during the first nine years of his time there, but a championship eluded them until this winter.