Southwick hoops’ coach Molta becomes a Saint

WESTFIELD – For some local die-hard high school basketball fans, it might be deemed an un-Saintly act. But whatever your stance, it is a bit of a shocker.
In a stunning offseason move, longtime Southwick-Tolland Regional High School boys’ basketball coach Joe Molta resigned after 25-plus seasons coaching the Rams only to take over coaching duties for the St. Mary Saints a short time later, a school official announced Tuesday.
“Some people might have a problem with a Ram coaching the Saints,” Molta said, “but my old coach Jim Vincent said, ‘at least you’re not changing school colors.’”
Vincent coached Rebecca-Lobo during her years at Southwick High.
Molta said the fact that Bob Lawless, also a former girls’ basketball coach, was stepping down as his assistant coach weighed heavily in his decision.
“I just felt Southwick needed another voice, to start over and go from there,” Molta said.
The longtime coach is now eyeing a new challenge.
“It’s a great opportunity to give back to a school rich in basketball tradition that unfortunately for X number of years hasn’t reached that pinnacle,” he said. “I’m excited about this opportunity.”
“I’m instilling good standards on what it is to win,” he added. “I’m just happy what I can bring to the table and what the Collins’ bring to the table, and get St. Mary’s back to where it needs to be.”
Molta was referring to Matt Collins, the school’s athletics director and Matt’s brother, Troy, who is expected to serve as assistant for the 2012-13 season.
Troy Collins has already helped guide the St. Mary’s baseball team to a Western Massachusetts championship, and has kept them competitive every year since.
“I liken this to when Joe Almeida came over from Westfield High School,” Matt Collins said. “I felt this was a home run for us.”
Almeida left the Bombers’ girls’ soccer team, and helped restore some luster to the Saints’ program.
In his three full years as head coach, Almeida has brought a competitive fire to the girls’ soccer team. Now Molta is expected to help restore some glory to the hoops’ program.
“I noticed how it fit for him to slide into the position,” Matt Collins said. “Joe has over 25 years of experience, he’s got extensive basketball knowledge, and coaching history of the game.”
Collins said Molta’s ability to successfully work with the student-athletes, administrators, combined with his basketball repertoire, was the right mold for the school.
“It’s exciting for what he can do for our program,” the athletic director said. “It’s very important as we try to move the St. Mary’s basketball program into the future.”

To Top