PRINCETON: Hun’s Quirk chose wise path

By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Kathy Quirk knew early on in her life that she wanted to coach.
“I knew when I was a freshman in high school,” Quirk said. “I was inspired by my field hockey coach, Mary Anne Morgan, who was young and energetic. I remember we were at a camp and she was young and had just gotten married. She stood up on a table and started imitating the Supremes. And I said then that someday I would like to be a coach. That was where the coaching came from.”
Quirk never did get up on a table and dance, but she has spent the last 42 years coaching at The Hun School of Princeton. This Saturday night she will be among those honored for their years of service by the Trenton Select Club at their annual awards dinner.
Quirk is one of several individuals who will be honored at the dinner, which will be held at Mercer Oaks in West Windsor. She will join sportscaster Tom McCarthy as the main honorees. The group will present Special Recognition Awards to Joe Gorla and longtime area sportswriter Rich Fisher for their contributions to area sports. Kathy Giallella will receive the Jim Carlin Memorial Distinguished Service Award, while Gilbert P. Rossi Memorial Scholarships will go to Gabrielle Manto of Robbinsville and Kevin Smiegocki of Hamilton.
Quirk was a three-sport star at Sterling High School, where she is a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. She went on to continue to play field hockey, basketball and softball at Trenton State College (now the The College of New Jersey). After graduating she got a job at Hun in 1973 and has been at the school ever since.
“They were looking for a field hockey coach and I came up looking to interview for that,” Quirk recalled. “And they hired me as a full-time teacher and a coach of three sports.”
Quirk is the Assistant Athletic Director at Hun and she and her husband, Bill, have lived on the school’s campus for most of her 42 years at the school. Her sons, Bill and Pat, grew up at the school and Pat currently teaches and coaches at the school as well.
“They have been great supporters, both Bill and my boys,” said Quirk, who still coaches field hockey and softball. “There were times that I didn’t see the boys play because I was coaching somebody else’s kids, but they never complained. They have always been supportive of me. They have always been there to ask how we did. And it has been nice having Pat coaching here at the same venue.”
Quirk has coached softball for 40 of her 42 years at Hun, missing just two seasons when her sons were young. She has also coached field hockey for 20 years over two different stints as the head coach.
“Every year I say this should be the last year,” Quirk said. “But you get attached to your athletes and you say I want to see this one graduate and then you say OK she has graduated and then there is another one.
“I feel blessed with the girls that I coach. This field hockey team that I coached was probably the best that I have coached in a long time just with the camaraderie between them and the friendships. On Senior Day they all had t-shirts on with my picture on it. It was a pretty touching day. They were a great bunch of kids and I think that is what makes you stay with the program and the people. It’s the same way with softball. You think this could be the last year. You’re tired, but you always find someone or some reason to stay on.”
Quirk is a member of the Hun School Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the Trenton Softball Hall of Fame. Being honored by the Trenton Select Club is the latest of her honors.
“It’s a great honor,” Quirk said. “I am very humbled by it. I can’t tell you records. I think I have probably mellowed a little over the years. There is more to coaching than winning and losing. I think that is more important that you are building something that these kids remember.
“I always say that I hope they take away some memories. You will remember one or two games that we have won that were big and important. But you’re not going to remember your records. But you will remember the people that you played with and the good times that you had. I think that is more important.”
Which is why if you asked her what her all-time record is as a coach, Quirk wouldn’t have a clue.
“I couldn’t even tell you,” she said. “And it’s not that important to me. I think it’s great when you see people in the newspaper who have just gotten their 100th win or 200th win. I couldn’t tell you how many wins I have. I would have no idea.”
For more information on the Trenton Select Club, visit the website at www.trentonselect.com. For ticket information for Saturday’s dinner, contact Mary Ann Tarr at 588-0152. 