Saturday, December 12, 2015

New varsity basketball coach returns to his Windham roots - By Stephanie Coffin

Chad Pulkkinen graduated from Windham High School in 2002, was a top player in the state, all conference, McDonalds All Star and helped lead the Eagles to the post season both his junior and senior years.

After graduating, Chad attended Saint Joseph’s College where he played for Hall of Fame Coach Rick Simonds and current head coach Rob Sanicola.  Despite tearing his ACL in both his freshman and sophomore year Pulkkinen accumulated numerous accolades as a player and served three years as a captain. 

Some Team Achievements:

·         Helped lead the monks to an NCAA Appearance (2003)
·         Northeast Region Independent Champions (2007)
·         ECAC Championship (2007)
·         Senior Year Record (22-8) the best record in the schools past 16 seasons

Individual Achievements
·         Scored 1,000 points
·         All Independent Team (2007)
·         All Maine State Team (2007)
·         New England Senior All Star (2007)
·         Three Time Independent Player of the Week (2007)
·         Bridgewater State Tip Off All Tournament Team (2007)
·         Maine Event All Tournament Team (2007)
·         Independent All Tournament Team (2007)
·         2nd All Time in Career Three Pointers Made (192)
·         3rd All Time in Three Pointers Made in a season (83,2006-2007)
·         10th All Time in Three Point Field Goal Percentage (.341)
·         2nd All Time in Season Free throw percentage (.857, 2006-2007)
·         6th All Time in Career Free Throw Percentage (.759)

After Graduating from Saint Joseph’s College, Pulkkinen signed a contract to play professional basketball overseas with the Northampton Neptunes in the England Basketball League (EBL).  He averaged 19 points per game and was one of the top players in the league, leading his team to two national cup games.  Chad was asked to re-sign for a second season before suffering a third ACL tear in the summer of 2008, which ended his playing career.  Part of Pulkkinen’s contract was to help develop and train the youth in the city of Northampton, United Kingdom.  The team was responsible for over 400 kids within the community, helping to teach fundamentals and providing mentorship as basketball coaches to the youth.  The team provided camps, games and clinics around their busy practice and game schedules.  

"I have always wanted to do a full circle back to Windham to help the basketball program once I graduated high school and it was always a dream of mine to one day coach the varsity program.  I did not think the opportunity would be available as quick as it has and I am grateful for the opportunity," Pulkkinen said. Living and working in the Windham community, Pulkkinen is married with two children and is the president of Windham Millwork.

Looking at the 2015-16 season, it will be exciting as the team looks to establish its identity.  The team has some key seniors returning with a majority of the players being sophomores and juniors. 
Pulkkinen said, "Our style of play will be a fast pace style with opportunities for our entire team to help make us successful.   Our success depends on the players buying into our system, striving to get better and players being able to contribute quickly.  With a young team patience is key, and continuing to get better every day is our main focus. The schedule is very demanding, being a part of the newly formed AA North with arguably some of the best teams in the state in our division."  Pulkkinen believes the future looks bright for the program and he is hoping to help use his playing experience and connections to help develop Windham's student athletes at both the junior high and high school level but also in the youth programs.  Pulkkinen looks forward to all the challenges this first year may bring as well building and developing the players throughout the year.  

Windham boys basketball’s first home game will be December 8th against Cheverus at 7 p.m.

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