Chartiers-Houston’s girls basketball team entered the 2013-14 season with a lack of experience after four seniors graduated. No one expected the Bucs to compete for a playoff spot in Section 4-AA.
There they were, again, proving the critics wrong in the last week of the regular season with a chance to jump Brentwood in the standings for the section’s final playoff spot. Unfortunately for Chartiers-Houston, a two-point loss to the Spartans and a three-point defeat at the hands of Fort Cherry had the Bucs on the outside looking in.
The late rally toward a playoff spot is nothing new to coach Veronica Sansom, who led the program to four playoff appearances in seven years at C-H. The 2013-14 season will be Sansom’s last.
Sansom resigned after being informed her full-time job with State Farm Insurance would require her to relocate to another state within the next 12 months.
“Whatever I am passionate about, I am 110 percent into it,” Sansom said. “With all of the changes going on professionally at work, I don’t have the energy and the time I should have and should be giving to the program. I thought it would be unfair to give them anything less than that.”
Sansom took over a program in 2007 that won just four games the previous season. Under her tutelage, the Bucs won nine games in her first two seasons before compiling five-straight winning seasons, including four trips to the WPIAL playoffs.
“She has done a great job,” Chartiers-Houston athletic director Kurt Kesneck said. “She went through some ups and downs earlier in her career and built us into a respectable program again. We have had a good girls basketball tradition here, and she was instrumental in getting us back into the playoffs.”
The district will open the job to internal candidates for 10 days before advertising the position. For Kesneck, replacing Sansom’s dedication to the program will be a difficult task.
“It’s hard to find someone who is going to put the time and effort in that is needed to have a successful program, from the open gyms to the summer leagues,” Kesneck said. “She put in a huge effort for our program and she will be missed. That’s the first thing I told her. That was the one thing that was stable. I didn’t have to worry about girls basketball because I knew she would take the reigns and would do what’s right.”
Sansom debated for weeks about whether to return next season, but with the uncertainty surrounding her job, which could have her relocating earlier than the 12-month period, she did not want to risk having to leave the Bucs before or during the season. With summer league beginning in May, Sansom wanted to step aside to give C-H time to find the right fit as her replacement.
“Sometimes when you spread yourself out in so many places, you aren’t good at anything and you are mediocre at everything,” Sansom said. “It was a very difficult decision, although there are so many changes going on at work that honestly, I did not have the time to devote. I didn’t have the mental capacity to go into a gym to coach and I knew that.”