The highly successful and widely respected head coach of the New Canaan High School varsity softball team has stepped down, officials said Monday.
Danielle Simoneau decided to make the change in order to watch her own daughter Makenzie—a freshman at Trumbull High School—play, according to NCHS Athletic Director Jay Egan.
“We are very grateful for all the time and effort Danielle has given to build the softball program at NCHS and in the community,” Egan said in an email to softball families.
“NCHS softball was a perennially weak program before Danielle came on board. We won an FCIAC Championship under her leadership and the youth softball program is viable option for girls in the spring.”
Named to the NCHS post in 2010, Simoneau herself was a standout pitcher, and powerful hitter, at Westhill High School in the early 1990s. She would go on to star at the University of Hartford.
Her successor will be Joel Geriak, who “has been integral in the softball team’s success and is extremely qualified for this position,” Egan said.
“He has had major instructional and administrative responsibility in his role as varsity assistant. Additionally, Joel is in school every day and does an excellent job encouraging and supporting the softball players and program. As you probably know Joel is also a highly successful basketball coach. He is very effective at working with young people.”
Rich Bulan will continue as a varsity assistant and Simoneau will also stay on in an assistant’s role to work with the Rams’ pitchers, Egan said. Among the players expected to help lead the team next spring is Springfield College-bound senior and starting pitcher Gillian Kane (the writer’s niece).
Simoneau “will attend practice every day,” Egan said. “We are actively looking for a junior varsity coach.”
Egan continued: “ I am very happy to have Joel in place to lead our softball program. He is an experienced coach who is committed to striving for success on and off the field.”