WEST HAVEN — Notre Dame of West Haven announced that Associate Head Coach Jason Shea ’97 will take on the position of head coach effective immediately.
Shea, a resident of Orange, who played at Notre Dame and Connecticut College, was elevated to the position of Associate Head Coach for the 2012-13 season when 31-year head coach Gary Palladino announced his retirement in December of 2012.
Palladino ended his career with 499 high school wins, including 412 at Notre Dame, with a 63-58 loss to Manchester in the first round of the CIAC Class LL tournament on March 4, 2013.
Shea is the Social Studies department chairperson at Notre Dame. He started in the 2003-04 season as the freshman coach before moving up to the JV position for the last six years.
Notre Dame President Br. James Branigan, C.S.C. said, “Jason Shea will continue to advance the basketball program, bringing to it his youthful energy and ongoing commitment to the mission of our Notre Dame – about the full life of our young men in the classroom for sure but as well on the ‘field’ of play.”
“Jason Shea is the perfect coach to follow in the footsteps of Coach Palladino,” said Notre Dame Athletic Director Tom Marcucci ’66. “As a player and an assistant coach, he has represented Notre Dame in a first class manner and I have no doubt he will continue to do so as a head coach.”
Shea pledged to continue the work begun by his predecessor, Coach Palladino.
“My vision is simple,” he said. “I want to continue the winning tradition of Notre Dame basketball.”
Shea, who met with the returning players for the first time as head coach on Friday after school, captained the 1996-97 Notre Dame to a 17-8 record. He averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds and achieved New Haven Register all-Area status while being named to the Connecticut Post Super 15 as well as being named an honorable mention all-State player.
He matriculated at Connecticut College where he played for Glenn Miller, former Brown and Penn head coach, who is currently an assistant coach at the University of Connecticut. At Connecticut College, Shea served as captain his senior year and his teams went a combined 89-16 in his career, reaching both the Elite 8 and Final 4 on the NCAA Division III level.
As a sophomore, Shea was a key contributor to the most successful Connecticut College team in school history. They won their first 27 games, spending 10 weeks as the top-ranked team in Division III, before falling in the national semifinals to Hampton-Sydney. They would win the consolation game and finish the season with a 28-1 record. That team is in both the Connecticut College and New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
Prior to joining the Notre Dame staff as a social studies and business teacher in 2004-05, Shea worked in the financial world in New York City for three years. Coach Palladino asked him to speak to the team following the 2002 season. That opportunity sparked a renewed interest in coaching and education and ultimately led him on his current career path.
“I had originally thought about coaching coming out of college,” said Shea. “I contemplated a graduate assistant position at Brown with Coach Miller but chose the financial world instead. The chance to speak to the team combined with the freshman position opening at Notre Dame renewed my interest. In addition, my grandfather, Bob Greenwood, who raised me, needed more of my attention from a medical standpoint. The timing was right for a career change and it all fell into place. I am grateful that my life has taken me on this path.”
“We are very fortunate to have someone on our staff that is both a teacher and coach,” said Principal Patrick Clifford ’75. “As an alumnus who played here and at the college level, he knows the game and cares about the school and our program.”
Palladino added, “Notre Dame’s basketball program can only improve with Coach Shea’s impressive resume and work ethic. He will not only represent Notre Dame as a gentlemen but also has the highest level of integrity. He has also been gifted with tremendous assistant coaches in Dominick Mastriano ‘86, Jason Kirck ‘92, and Sean Griffin ‘03 who, combined with Coac Shea’s passion and vision, will lead Notre Dame basketball well for the foreseeable future.”
Notre Dame is coming off a 15-8 season that saw the Green Knights win impressive SCC Quinnipiac Division games over Xavier, Hamden, and West Haven as well as defeating out-of-division foes Sheehan, Hand, Shelton, and Guilford. Notre Dame defeated Amity in the SCC tournament before falling to the state’s top-ranked team, Hillhouse, in the semifinals.