Linda Martindale has guided the girls’ basketball programs at Weston and Newton North high schools to league titles and MIAA tournament appearances. Now, the Sudbury resident has embraced a new challenge as the varsity boys’ coach at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional. She replaces five-year coach Mike Normant, now at the helm at Ashland High.
Martindale is the second female hired in the past two years to coach a boys’ varsity basketball team in Eastern Massachusetts. She joins Kristen McDonnell, who was hired at Norwood prior to the 2019-20 season after a stellar 10-year run with the Braintree girls’ program, where she coached against Martindale and her North teams in the Bay State Conference.
“It means a lot to me to be honest,” said Martindale, who was officially hired Friday. “I think women coaching boys in basketball is starting to be more normalized. I love that the boys were as happy to see me coach as [they would be for] a man. Kristen and I have a history when she was at Braintree and I was at Newton North. She is one of the first people I am reaching out to for words of wisdom. I think it means a lot for female coaches everywhere.”
Martindale emerged from a pool of “dozens of applicants,” said L-S athletic director Art Reilly. At Lincoln-Sudbury, the interview committee consisted of a few seniors, basketball community members, other L-S coaches and Reilly.
Having a woman coaching boys team at L-S is “completely irrelevant,” Reilly said. “We just look to put the best candidate in there.”
Julie Nocka coaches both boys’ and girls’ swimming at the school, and Elizabeth McClung is the longtime boys’ volleyball coach.
Martindale’s ties to youth basketball in town run deep. She has served as a board member, girls’ travel commissioner and head boys’ coach for Sudbury Youth Basketball since 2010. She previously served as an assistant girls’ basketball coach at L-S from 2003-2006.
“She understands the L-S community and culture, which is very important,” Reilly said. “Her experience, what she’s done, that really stood out to us. She understands the community and she knows what she’s looking at.”
‘“[Linda] understands the L-S community and culture, which is very important. Her experience, what she’s done, that really stood out to us. She understands the community and she knows what she’s looking at.”’
Art Reilly, Lincoln-Sudbury AD
Her son, Judson, a 6-foot-6 Worcester Academy grad, will be a freshman on the Holy Cross men’s basketball team this year. Her daughter, Brianna, a ski racer, is a rising senior at L-S. Calvin is a sophomore at Lawrence Academy, and Nolan, is a seventh grader.
Martindale is excited to put the pieces together with the L-S boys’ team, which finished 8-15 last season.
"Making sure each kid on the team has a clearly defined role and how that transitions to the team as a whole," Martindale said. "I don't generally figure out my style of play until I see what I have, but that's what I remember about them.
"My philosophy is maximizing the potential of each individual, and I think for me, I've always believed that defense wins games."
Current L-S girls’ basketball coach Howie Landau served as an assistant on Martindale’s staff at Newton North, where she coached from 2011-16. He was not involved in the interview process.
“She’s got an exceptional basketball mind and is really passionate about the game," Landau said. "I think she’ll do a great job on the boys’ side.”
Martindale, a native of Toronto, began her coaching career at St. Gregory High School in Tucson, Ariz. during her redshirt season at the University of Arizona after her transfer from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
She went to New York City after she graduated college and moved to Sudbury with her husband, Jim, after she finished her master’s program at NYU.
And will she schedule Norwood for a matchup with McDonnell?
“Oh, absolutely,” Martindale said.
Michael Collett, who previously directed boys’ programs at Nashoba Tech (2016-18) and Malden Catholic (2018-19),has been hired as the varsity girls’ hockey coach at Central Catholic in Lawrence.
“I am extremely excited about this position and I am honored to be part of this program,” said Collett, an Archbishop Williams grad who starred on the ice at Northeastern. “Being able to adapt to new situations is what makes a good coach, and I have great staff joining me and we are ready for the new challenge.” After several years of coaching men’s hockey, this is the first time Collett will be coaching a women’s program. Her wife, Michelle, will assist with the team. Their son, Michael, Jr., is a rising senior on the Central Catholic boys’ team.
“Mike’s passion and energy for teaching the game of hockey is clearly evident,” said Central Catholic AD Ernie DiFiore, Athletic Director for Central Catholic High School. “He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table, and there is no question that he is the right person for the job." . . . Lowell Catholic has hired former Pope John and Cathedral football coach Paul Sobolewski to take charge of its program as it transitions from the Catholic Central League to the Commonwealth Athletic Association. He has also coached at Georgetown and Winchester, as well as serving as AD at Pope John, which closed last June, and Cathedral . . . Four-star recruit Troy Stellato, a 6-foot, 175-pound slot receiver out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. via Cardinal Gibbons High, committed to Clemson over Ohio State on Friday afternoon for the class of 2021. He is the nephew of Sean Stellato, an NFL player agent who starred on the gridiron and basketball court at Salem High. The younger Stellato, like his uncle, and father, Eric, is a Salem native.