Cathy Crockett never imagined coaching for more than 20 years. In fact she had another dream. She wanted to be work for the New York City Police Department and, at 22 years old, was just waiting for the call from the academy to get started.
At the time, Crockett was coaching at the CYO level and a summer league team. One day that summer she chose to ride her bike to game in Marine Park. She rode about 10 blocks and was hit by a car.
“I got hit pretty bad,” Crockett said. “I lost an inch and a half of my tibia. It kind of erased me going into the police academy. I didn’t think that at the moment at all.”
She went on to take the junior varsity head−coaching job that opened up at Bishop Kearney and eventually realized the police academy was not going to be an option. The following season the varsity job became available.
“When she came into Kearney they had just went through a transition,” former player, assistant and close friend Kerry O’Grady said.
Kearney went through two coaches in the three seasons prior, but wouldn’t need another for 22 years. Crockett, who retired at the end of this season to spend more time with her family, got the job and became a staple at the Brooklyn school.
She tallied a career record of 349−208, coached Kearney to two state Federation titles, four Catholic state titles, seven CHSAA state semifinals and 21 CHSAA Division I semifinal appearances. She coached six 1,000 point scorers, including the CHSAA’s all−time leading scorer Janelle McManus. Her multitude of accomplishments earned her an induction into the Brooklyn⁄Queens Girls CHSAA Hall of Fame at Russo’s on Bay in Howard Beach on Thursday night.
“In TV people win Emmys, singers win Grammys,” Crockett said. “I guess this is the Emmy, Grammy of [high−school] basketball.”
Her career was filled with fond memories, coaching in packed gyms, being both overwhelmed and excited the first time she stepped into the Glens Falls Civic Center, state titles and lives touched. There were some tough times, too – including the death of one of her players, Theresa Whitty, in 1993, and the plane crash in the Rockaway area that killed the mother and brother of players Katelyn and Jennifer Lawler.