One might say it’s easy to win when you have the talent Mary Klinger has at Rutgers Prep. Mikayla Blakes, Katie Ledden, Gigi Battle, and on and on.
But harnessing that talent, getting more and more out of it every day, is the task she really has, and once again, in 2022-23, Klinger was a success.
This is a coach who considers the regular season the preseason, the warm-up, the long stretch to constantly improve. She can be heard bemoaning a defensive effort in a game where her team might win by 30.
That comes from growing up in hardscrabble Philly, along with her twin sister Patty, where during their run to the 1982 AIAW Championship with the Rutgers Lady Knights’ the Coyle twins could be found playing pick-up ball on the city’s courts the night before the title game at the Palestra against vaunted and heavily-favored Texas – who, of course, they wound up beating – just to let off some nervous steam.
That spirit and quest for excellence fuels her to push her team to its limits, and maybe even a little more.
It’s why her Lady Argonauts have won two straight sectional titles, three straight Somerset County Tournament titles, and five of the last seven SCTs.
It’s why Central Jersey Sports Radio once again has named Mary Klinger Coach of the Year, her second such honor from CJSR. She also was so honored in 2021, when her team went undefeated, 13-0, in the COVID-shortened season, our debut year.
Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Dom Savino talk with Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Klinger, our 2022-23 Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year:
One more thing: this won’t be the biggest award the Rutgers Prep coach picks up this month.
Klinger, who earlier this season was named by NFHS as New Jersey Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year for 2021-22, will pick up another coaching honor this weekend when the New Jersey Basketball Coaches’ Association All-State Game is played at Rutgers Prep. This Sunday, she’ll be recognized as a John Wooden Legacy Award Winner by the National High School Basketball Coaches’ Association.