Ex-Dallastown coach Mary Manlove is set to take over as the Cougars' new head coach, pending school board approval.
Former Dallastown High School girls' basketball coach Mary Manlove ate dinner with former longtime Palmyra head coach Ron Berman Wednesday.
They talked basketball and coaching. And via unanimous approval from the Palmyra school board Thursday night, Manlove officially became Berman's successor.
Driving home to York County Wednesday night, she expressed what has been a whirlwind couple of months.
"I feel like I won the lottery," Manlove said.
The board also voted Thursday to hire Manlove as an elementary school reading specialist in the district.
She will receive an annual salary of $64,517 as the reading specialist and $6,080 for her coaching duties.
Manlove is coming off a successful seven-season stint at Dallastown that ended in controversy in March. She was fired as head coach amid complaints about her coaching style and allegations of verbal, mental and physical abuse from some players and their parents.
Manlove strongly denied the accusations, and subsequent investigations by the school and local law enforcement did not result in any charges or discipline. At the time of her firing, her entire coaching staff resigned in a show of support for her. She continued in her elementary school teaching position through the end of the school year.
A number of former players and their families, as well as fellow coaches, came to Manlove's defense, and a few spoke up in favor of her at a school board meeting in April.
Manlove has Division I college coaching experience, working at the United States Military Academy. Before her firing, Manlove's seven years at Dallastown had been successful, resulting in a record of 114-77 that included a York-Adams tournament title in 2014 and a YAIAA Division I title in 2015.
The Wildcats struggled this past season, going just 5-17, but finished either first or second in their division in four of Manlove's seven seasons at the helm.
When asked following her ouster if she hoped to coach again, Manlove was non-committal.
"I can't speak to that," Manlove told GameTimePA.com in March. "I spent eight years with incredible people, building what I hoped would last 20 or 30 years. In a few short weeks, it was all ripped apart."
Manlove pursued a return to coaching only after talking to several people familiar with the Palymra program.
"The more I learned about Palmyra, the more questions I asked," Manlove said. "And the more I talked to people ... the more wonderful things I heard.
"I'm excited to help build on the excellence of the Palmyra program, and, if given the opportunity, I'd love to spend the next 20 to 30 years doing it."
The Cougars went 13-10 in Berman's final season on the bench, their 15th straight winning season. Before stepping down, Berman produced a sparkling record of 325-116 that included capturing or sharing six Mid Penn Keystone Division titles, an overall Mid Penn Conference crown, and a District 3 Class AAA championship. In addition, he guided the Cougars to the state semifinals twice, once in Class AAA and once in Class AAAA.