After over two decades at the helm of Murray Bergtraum’s girls basketball program, Ed Grezinsky, who prior to last season led the school to 15 consecutive city titles, suddenly resigned in late October, according to the NY Daily News. His last-minute decision is surprising, considering that practices have already begun in the PSAL (Public School Athletic Association). Murray Bergtraum has long been known as one of the best teams in the country and count Epiphanny Prince, Shannon Bobbitt and Jennifer Butler among its long list of alumni. Under Grezinsky, at one point Bergtraum went on a 73-game winning streak and held a 151-6 record during a five-season span. Understandably so, many of team’s players are disappointed with the situation — considering that the program is not allowed to practice until a head coach is named.
It is clear by chatting with Ashanae McLaughlin for a just a few minutes that she has nothing but love for long-time Murry Bergtraum girls basketball coach Ed Grezinsky.
But it also is obvious that McLaughlin is hurt by the legendary coach’s decision to quit the job he had held for more than two decades just weeks before the start of the PSAL season, leaving the program and its players in limbo.
“It’s a disappointment that he’d just leave like that,” McLaughlin wrote in a private Twitter exchange with the Daily News. “It’s my last year — I feel (he had) one more in him.”
McLaughlin was referring to Grezinsky’s ability to win one more PSAL city championship, of course. Prior to stepping away from the job he had held since the early ‘90s, Grezinsky won 15 championships with the Lady Blazers, all of the coming consecutively starting in 1999. Bergtraum lost to Francis Lewis in the PSAL semifinals last season, putting an end to the astonishing run.
Considering all he had accomplished and the fact that he’s 60 years old, Grezinsky’s decision to quit is not a major surprise, but the timing of his move has some members of the team scratching their heads. The season is scheduled to begin in a few weeks and the Lady Blazers have no one to coach them. The team is not allowed to practice until a coach is found.
It’s a strange turn for a program considered one of the best in the country, and it has many wondering what the future of such a storied team will be.
“The girls are very hurt because the season is about to start and he left,” said a source at Bergtraum, who told The News that a paper notifying staff members of the open coaching position has been posted in the main office.
For McLaughlin, the coming season is supposed to be about winning another championship since she has already secured a college scholarship to Seton Hall University. But her main focus now is getting her teammates “right and focused for our upcoming season.”
Grezinsky told The News on Thursday that he had becoming tired and noted that he had been coaching either basketball or football — he was once the defensive coordinator at Abraham Lincoln — since 1978.
But he did acknowledge that school issues had something to do with his decision, noting that Bergtraum had recently split into several different schools and is on its fourth or fifth principal in the last eight years or so.
A source confirm Grezinsky’s issues with the school and McLaughlin also said she knews he was upset with things that were going on there.
“I was caught off guard but I knew he was tired of the society in that school,” she said.
In addition to the 15 championships, Grezinsky estimated that he had sent approximately 40 girls to play in college, including Jennifer Butler — the star of his first championship team —and Epiphanny Prince, one of many players who won four championships under Grezinsky’s guidance. Both Butler and Prince went on to play in the WNBA.