Hawks' hires start building

March 07, 2001

Hawks' hires start building


Beth Domenico and Henry House are heading to the same destination. They are just getting on the road in different places.

Hagerstown Community College hired Domenico to coach the volleyball team on Tuesday, while House was named the coach of the women's soccer program. Both will be asked to run quality athletic programs, but one will be trying to scratch the surface while the other is practically starting from scratch.

Domenico, who spent three years as the Hawks' assistant coach, will take over a relatively intact program. She will be replacing Dr. Marlys Palmer, who stepped down after 22 years of building the program into national prominence.


Meanwhile, House will finish the work started by Cathy Hammond, who spent the last two years doing the groundwork while the team played on the club level.

"In Beth, it is naturally a pleasure for us to welcome one of our young coaches back into the program," HCC athletic director Jim Brown said. "It is a special day for us because we are proud of Beth for what she has done here as a student, player and coach.

"In Henry, it will be his job to recruit the number of players we'll need to participate in the Maryland JuCo Conference. We tried three years ago to get the program off the ground and Cathy came in and stabilized it. Now it's time to take it to the next level."

Domenico, a Smithsburg graduate, played at HCC in 1992-93, leading the Hawks to the national tournament in the first year. After graduating, she went to North Carolina-Pembroke on scholarship and eventually returning to the area.

"I loved playing here," Domenico said. "I've always loved volleyball since I've been in middle school and I wanted to continue in it as a coach. I hope the program has the same success it has had for 22 years and I hope we can return to the nationals soon."

Under Palmer, HCC compiled a 667-162 record, including nine straight Maryland JuCo regular season titles from 1989-97 along with nine straight Region XX titles to earn trips to the NJCAA.

Such success makes Domenico's task both inviting and intimidating at the same time.

"HCC is a very nice community college," she said. "When we go places, we are well known. The school has a lot of recognition. I feel like I'm starting at the top instead of the bottom. (Palmer) will still be here ... I'll be asking a lot of questions. It's not like she will be long gone."

House will be on his own while taking the HCC program into uncharted territory.

"I have a clean slate. It will be an interesting and challenging first year," House said. "We are going to need a strong freshman class to give us a viable first season. The goal is to be consistent and competitive."

House comes to HCC after spending a number of years on the youth level. He is a 1985 graduate of Heritage Academy, where he played soccer, basketball and baseball before attending Johnson & Wales College in Providence, R.I. He has coached for the Hagerstown Soccer Club and the YMCA league and spent time as an assistant coach at Smithsburg and Clear Spring. He also has officiated all levels of soccer for six years.

The background could help House build the program, especially when it comes to recruiting. He said he will spend the next couple weeks familiarizing himself with the players and the program before establishing a playing philosophy.

"I'm familiar with the soccer club and the local high school scene," House said. "This will be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it. No matter what we do, it will be more than we have. Western Maryland has a great soccer base. Now the kids are starting to graduate and it's a matter of directing them to play at HCC."

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