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LI's top high school coaches of the 2010s

Garden City coach Diane Chapman is the Newsday

Garden City coach Diane Chapman is the Newsday High School coach of the decade. Credit: Robert Kirkham/Robert Kirkham

1. DIANE CHAPMAN

Garden City girls lacrosse and field hockey

Our top coach of the decade was no easy choice. But when you have a coach who excels at the highest level in two sports — that can be a considerable edge. Here’s to the excellence of Diane Chapman — well known as Chappy. 

She led the Trojans to six state Class B titles during the decade, five in girls lacrosse in 2010-2012, 2016-2017 and one in field hockey in 2018. “I’ve been incredibly blessed with great teams and student-athletes,” she said. “No one team was more special than the other. They’ve all been unique in their own way.”

The Trojans earned five Nassau and Long Island girls lacrosse titles in 2010-2012 and 2016-2017. They also won nine Nassau and L.I. field hockey crowns in 2010-2011, 2013-2019. Chapman has coached Garden City field hockey for 29 years and girls lacrosse for 19.

2. BRUCE STEGNER

Massapequa girls soccer

The Chiefs captured eight titles in Nassau Class AA and won seven Long Island crowns. Stegner guided the Chiefs to four state Class AA crowns in seven appearances, winning three straight state titles from 2013-2015.

3. TOM CATAPANO

Baldwin girls basketball

Catapano led the Bruins to four L.I. Class AA championships in 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2018. The Bruins earned back-to-back state Class AA titles in 2017-2018 and became the first girls basketball program in L.I. history to win consecutive state titles. The Bruins also captured the Federation crown in 2018.

4. DANI BRAGA

Jericho boys soccer

In his nine years as varsity coach, Braga has turned Jericho into a state Class A boys soccer power. Since 2011, Braga has won four of five Nassau titles and four L.I. championships. He’s perfect at the state level, winning the crown in all four appearances in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2019.  The soccer program, always one of the best in Nassau, has risen to another level. Braga has been Newsday’s Coach of Year twice and a has a 34-5-1 playoff record.

5. RUSS CELLAN

Freeport football

Cellan has turned a doormat of a program into a Long Island powerhouse in his 30-plus years.  His work in the last decade has been his best. The Red Devils won four L.I. Class I titles in 2010, 2016, 2018 and 2019, earning the Rutgers Cup as Nassau’s top team in 2010 and 2018. They own the state’s longest current win streak for large schools at 24. They made six appearances in the Nassau Conference I final, winning four. And in the last four years the Red Devils are 43-4.

6. DAVE ETTINGER

Garden City football

He replaced legendary coach Tom Flatley, and the program did not skip a beat. Ettinger, a Garden City graduate, was the perfect fit. He guided the Trojans to three straight L.I. Class II titles between 2016-2018. His program tied the L.I. record with 42 straight wins. The Trojans captured four straight Nassau Conference II crowns between 2016-2019. His career record is 55-3 in five seasons, winning 95 percent of the time.

7. JUSTIN HERTZ

Connetquot girls volleyball

With Hertz at the helm, the Thunderbirds won four L.I. Class AA titles in the past five years. They turned three of those L.I. crowns into state championships in 2015, 2017 and 2019. The T-Birds were undefeated in 2015 and 2017 and finished with only one regular season loss in 2019.

8. JEFF SALMON

Ward Melville boys fencing

Salmon guided the Ward Melville fencing juggernaut through the decade, winning nine L.I. championships and 10 Suffolk dual-meet titles. The Patriots first and only dual-meet loss in the decade came in the final contest of the 2017-18 season, which snapped the fifth-longest winning streak in L.I. high school sports history (per Newsday records; the streak dated to 2006).

9. TOM SHEEDY

Massapequa baseball

He led the Chiefs to three consecutive L.I. Class AA championships from 2017-2019. The Chiefs earned the state Class AA crown in 2018, the second under Sheedy’s tutelage in his 15 years at the helm. The incredible 2018 run came after a 5-6 record to start the season and ended with a 17-game win streak. He has 312 wins in 16 years.

10. STEW FRITZ

East Meadow softball

Coach Fritz may have said it best after winning the state Class AA softball crown in 2017. He said, “A good conductor needs a great orchestra, and we have a great orchestra.” He guided the Jets to the state Class AA semifinals five times since 2013, winning two state championships in 2014 and 2017. The conductor led the Jets to six Nassau crowns and won five L.I. titles in 2013-2014 and three in a row from 2017-2019. He had 168 wins in the decade and a .747 winning percentage.

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