Gedaka earns 500th win

Gloucester Catholic coach Lisa Gedaka fist-bumps Becky Pund after Pund scored in the first quarter of the 65-26 victory.
Gloucester Catholic coach Lisa Gedaka fist-bumps Becky Pund after Pund scored in the first quarter of the 65-26 victory. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 20, 2014

Former and current players, family members, friends, and colleagues all lined up to offer congratulations. And Lisa Gedaka was gracious to every one of them.

But as hard as she tried to be diplomatic, the longest embrace, by far, was between mother and daughter.

On the night Gedaka recorded her 500th win as coach of the Gloucester Catholic girls' basketball team, her daughter, Mary, recorded 14 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists - the first triple-double of her career.

The game, a 65-26 win Tuesday night at Deptford, was another convincing victory for the newly minted No. 1-ranked team in South Jersey.

The celebration on the court afterward was fitting. A whirlwind of emotion, that, yes, kept coming back to mother and daughter posing for pictures, hugging, or standing with their arms around each other and talking.

For Lisa Gedaka, it was a moment for reflection, a reminder of a decision she made 25 years ago, one that's still paying its greatest dividends today.

"Every kid that I've coached, every one, has a handprint on this milestone," said Lisa Gedaka, who, with a career record of 500-153, becomes the third South Jersey girls' basketball coach to reach 500 wins, after Wildwood's Dave Troiano and Camden Catholic's Chris Palladino.

"Gloucester Catholic is my second family. And for me to be here for 25 years is something I cherish and don't take for granted."

Gedaka was 22 years old when she accepted the coaching position at Gloucester Catholic. She was fresh off a playing career at Villanova that ultimately landed her a spot in the Big Five Hall of Fame.

At the time, securing a college coaching job would have been easy.

But Gedaka made the choice to stay home and raise a family.

Twenty-five years later, Gedaka appears to have the best of both worlds. She's raising four children and coaching one of the state's most talented basketball teams, one that features her daughter as one of its star players.

"We've grown so much closer, not only from a mother-daughter standpoint but from a coach-and-player standpoint," said Mary Gedaka, a 6-foot sophomore forward and spitting image of her mother. "We bump heads sometimes . . . But overall, it's been such a great experience.

"I always dreamed of being part of this milestone, and I'm very excited for my mom. She's such a humble person."


rallysports@phillynews.com

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