James Coughlin

Oak Park and River Forest High School girls basketball coach J.P. Coughlin announced March 18 that he is resigning from his position immediately.

Coughlin, who has been part of the Huskies’ program for the past 15 seasons, including the past 8 as head coach, informed the team on March 13 of his decision to resign.

“I told our girls and the rest of the program that I have resigned as head coach,” Coughlin said on Twitter. “It was a very difficult decision … in evaluating myself, our players and the program, I strongly felt that a new vision and voice were needed.”

OPRF went 5-9 in its’ recently-concluded season. The Huskies will lose five players to graduation – Rachel Hartman, Abby Spencer, McKale Thompson, Taylor Wipf, and Maeve Wojcik.

“Whoever becomes the next head coach will inherit a supportive and dedicated athletic department, with passionate and supportive parents, and a group of young athletes who will do anything to get better,” Coughlin tweeted.

OPRF will return plenty of talent for the 2021-22 season, led by junior Lilah Gery. Other notable returning Huskies include juniors Kennedy Jones, Martha Lipic, and Sadie Lyons; sophomores Sandra Caldwell, Reese Garland, and Libby Majka; and freshman Keira Kleidon.

Coughlin thanked his current and past players, his assistants, the parents and the administration for their efforts. And he plans on keeping track of the OPRF program, rooting for its success.

“Exciting days lay ahead for the Huskies,” Coughlin said. “I look forward to being their number one fan. I developed some amazing relationships in this game and I look forward to continuing those going forward.”

OPRF Athletic Director John Stelzer called Coughlin “one of the most caring, dedicated, and knowledgeable coaches that I have worked with” in a statement he emailed to Wednesday Journal.

“He has a true passion for coaching and teaching the sport of basketball and for developing life-skills for our student-athletes,” Stelzer said. “Coach Coughlin has served our school community, and our athletic department with integrity for 15 years. He is a wonderful example of a teacher-coach, and his dedication to our student-athletes will be greatly missed.”

Stelzer said a search for Coughlin’s replacement will begin soon.

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