They are two high school girls basketball coaches who had very different expectations heading into the season.
Longtime North Catholic coach Molly Rottmann had a team that was expected to win every game they played.
And it almost did, winning a WPIAL 4A title and marching all the way to the PIAA championship game.
For A-C Valley coach Dave Sherman, the expectations were tempered, yet the Falcons had the best season in school history.
For their efforts, both were named 2018-19 Butler Eagle Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
“I almost lived vicariously through them,” said Sherman, who guided A-C Valley to a 21-5 record and two PIAA 2A playoff wins after having just one victory in the state playoffs before this season. “I knew we’d be good, but we always talked about just getting better all the time.”
For Rottmann, North Catholic lived up to all the heavy expectations this season.
North Catholic went 26-4, losing to Bethlehem Catholic in the state final.
“That loss is something that sticks with you,” Rottmann said.
But getting to the state final was an accomplishment in and of itself, especially because of the adversity the Trojanettes had to overcome in the playoffs.
North Catholic was down at the half against Central Valley in the WPIAL championship game, but roared back to win.
The Trojanettes stared down a 16-point halftime deficit against Blackhawk in the state playoffs and rallied to win.
And in the state semifinals, North Catholic used a game-ending 17-0 run to beat Mifflinburg and advance to play Bethlehem Catholic in the final.
It was the win over Blackhawk that Rottmann will remember for a long time.
“I couldn’t believe it. We kept fighting,” Rottmann said. “You’re thinking, ‘Let’s just not get embarrassed’ and then you come back and win.
“There was a little bit of butt kicking at halftime of the Blackhawk game,” Rottmann added, chuckling. “I told them, ‘You don’t want to turn in your uniforms like this.’”
Rottmann said the coach of the year honor is more about the team.
“An award like this is really a reflection of the team,” Rottmann said. “It’s an award for the team. I tell the girls that when they receive an all-section or state honor. It reflects on all of them.
“I have great assistants who have a lot of input and I have kids who were willing to work and buy in. I’m excited to tell them about this because it’s an honor for them.”