NEW BRITAIN - Over the course of the past 30 years, Michelle Abraham has built the New Britain girls volleyball program into a perennial playoff contender and received plenty of honors as a result.
Now, Abraham can add one more to the list.
The head coach is one of eight finalists for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s (NHSCA) National Coach of the Year award, which will be decided on June 27.
“I was pretty shocked,” Abraham said when she learned of the nomination in January. “Without a doubt, the other candidates that are there are great coaches. Just to even be considered, Connecticut has so many great coaches, just in our league alone, and to be selected is quite an honor and quite humbling.”
This will be Abraham’s second nomination for the award. Her first nomination came in 2008.
According the NHSCA, Abraham was selected as a finalist again due to her longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championship years and winning percentage.
Over her 30 years of coaching, the head coach has accumulated an overall record of 307 wins and 287 losses.
Her teams have also qualified for the state tournament 17 times, won their respective league titles in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2005 and reached the Class LL finals twice, winning the 1999-2000 state title.
But this recent NHSCA nomination stands out among her career accomplishments.
“This might be is the highest [honor] because without those other recognitions, this wouldn’t be possible,” Abraham said. “Just being selected to the New Britain Hall of Fame a couple of years ago was an honor for me. That was one of the tops as well. But this is a culmination of it all and without a doubt, without all the great players, past and present, this wouldn’t be possible. I’ve already gotten so many emails, texts and calls from many of my former players.”
Winning the National Coach of the Year Award would also be special to Abraham for what it would mean for the city of New Britain.
A 1985 graduate herself of New Britain High School, Abraham has been a teacher in the district for the past 27 years, currently teaching at the Brook Side School.
“It’s really about the whole community, it’s not just about me per se,” Abraham said. “A lot of credit goes to the players and my assistant coach, Lucy Vasquez, who has been with me 22 years. What we do, we do for the well being of our student athletes year after year. The administration, from when I started, has been so supportive for all 30 years.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org