Recent appointments enhance the athletics experience at Cheshire Academy
July 12, 2021
He’s hit the ground running. With summer programs in high gear, department scheduling and staffing adjustments, facility upgrades, and managing plans for student activities, Jim McCarthy has his hands full. Even before his official July 1 start date, faculty member and history teacher McCarthy was planning, meeting, and coordinating myriad details and logistics as he prepared for his new role as director of athletics for Cheshire Academy.
McCarthy succeeds Ed Banach, who has taken on the new role of associate director of athletic operations. Banach, who joined CA in 2012, will also serve as head coach of the varsity boys’ soccer and varsity girls’ tennis programs.
McCarthy also serves as head coach of the varsity boys’ basketball program, as well as CA’s summer programs coordinator. He brings extensive coaching experience to the table, having served as assistant at Yale, Towson, and Northeastern.
Of his appointment, McCarthy said, “I’m thrilled to formally join and lead the Athletics Department at CA. The new staff and coaches in place for 2021-2022 are impressive, have college-level experience, and are dedicated to mentoring student-athletes. Ed Banach is a valuable resource, experienced coach, and ensures continuity and a wealth of institutional knowledge as we advance the athletics program here.”
Joining McCarthy in their new roles this year are head coaches Caroline Brasa and Corey Holton, and Senior Woman Administrator and coach Princess Zabel.
Brasa, who is taking the reins of the varsity girls’ basketball and volleyball teams, was most recently assistant coach of the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors women’s basketball team. She brings with her a decade of coaching and playing experience. In college, Brasa played forward at Western Connecticut State University, and received annual recognition at the Little East Conference. Brasa will also be a member of the school’s faculty, teaching humanities.
“I am so excited for the opportunity to coach and teach at Cheshire Academy,” Brasa said. “I’m looking forward to developing students both on and off the court.”
Holton will lead the varsity girls’ soccer program. A longtime collegiate soccer coach, Holton was most recently the head coach of Vassar College’s women’s soccer program. She has 16 years of coaching experience at the college and youth levels, including as head coach at NCAA Division III institutions Concordia University Texas, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Vassar. She will also serve as an admission associate in the Admission Office.
“I am most excited about the potential and room for growth in the girls’ soccer program,” explained Holton. “I believe in the mission of Cheshire Academy, and I am looking forward to developing high school girls on the field and preparing them for their individual paths to college.”
Zabel, a former Division I athlete and longtime collegiate coach, is the new head coach of the varsity girls’ lacrosse program. She will also serve as assistant coach for the varsity girls’ basketball program, as well as CA’s first senior woman administrator in athletics. She comes with an array of coaching and admissions experience from local and national universities, including Central Connecticut State University, Bucknell University, and Villanova University.
Zabel is currently the owner and director of Black Pirate Lacrosse LLC, a startup focused on recruiting events, youth program consulting, and athlete performance. She’s also involved in the Nor’easter Lacrosse Club, as well as the Avon and Westport youth lacrosse clubs.
“I am honored to be chosen to work with this tremendous faculty and student population and I look forward to the journey ahead,” Zabel said. “I am appreciative of Head of School Julie Anderson, Associate Head of School David Dykeman, Director of Athletics Jim McCarthy, and all I have met at Cheshire Academy for including me into their community.”
Cheshire Academy has introduced the new face of athletics and student activities—the Cat’s Eye. Honoring the school’s proud past while moving intentionally into the future, the cat’s image has been taken to the next level as a professionalized sub-brand by giving it more character and finesse.
Cats’ vertical pupils give them a competitive edge, being able to keenly approximate the distance to their prey, and focusing on their target. That same prowess is displayed in CA Cats who seek and meet their goals in all their endeavors.
Click here to watch the launch video, and to browse the new online store where you can purchase merchandise adorned with the new Cat’s Eye logos and traditional school logos.