Cloudy
67°
Cloudy
Hi 84° | Lo 60°

Oxbow Hires New Girls Basketball Coach, Replacing Musty

Oxbow girls basketball coach Felicia Kingsbury.
Valley News - Jared Pendak

Oxbow girls basketball coach Felicia Kingsbury. Valley News - Jared Pendak

Bradford, Vt. — In a difficult time for Oxbow athletics, Felicia Kingsbury is hoping to help provide a positive transition.

Kingsbury, 26, was approved Tuesday by Oxbow’s school board to become the girls basketball team’s fourth coach, replacing former coach and physical education teacher Brian Musty.

Musty, who coached the program for the last 14 seasons and also coached girls varsity soccer and lacrosse while teaching at Oxbow, was arrested Nov. 5 and charged with aggravated sex assault of a minor. He remains on paid leave after pleading not guilty.

Kingsbury, as Felicia Garrett, played four varsity seasons for Musty’s Olympians, graduating in 2004 after scoring 840 points. She scored 9.5 points per game as a sophomore in 2001-02, when the O’s beat Montpelier for the Vermont Division II state championship. Oxbow returned to the final each of the next two seasons, going 61-8 in Garrett’s three years as a starting guard.

“It’s quite an honor,” said Kingsbury, who spent 2006-10 as the Olympians’ girls jayvee coach before serving 2010-11 as a girls varsity assistant and last year as the girls middle school coach. “When this whole situation (concerning Musty) occurred, I had no thoughts about this. (Oxbow athletic director) Rich (Thornton) contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in doing it.

“Every coach wants to reach higher and (becoming a varsity coach) would be the next big goal. I have a lot to learn, but I also have a lot to give back.”

Kingsbury was one of several finalists for the position after an urgent three-week search to replace Musty with the season fast approaching. Oxbow began its preaseason this week and opens the season at home against Lake Region on Dec. 11.

“Any time you lose a coach, there’s always some (urgency) to replace them,” Thornton said. “When it happens like this, just before basketball season, it was kind of a double whammy for us. We had to be proactive. We were still able to get some strong candidates through word-of-mouth and advertising. Felicia rose above in the process.”

Kingsbury, who played for Norwich University’s women’s basketball team while living on the Northfield, Vt., campus as a college freshman, converted to a commuter student as a sophomore in 2006 and accepted the Oxbow jayvee job. Though she’d had no previous ambitions to coach, her teams garnered winning records during each of her four seasons before she stepped down while pregnant with her daughter, Addison. She stayed involved as a girls’ assistant varsity coach during the 2010-11 season and as the girls’ middle school coach last year.

“The only experience I had (before the jayvee job) was helping with Musty’s AAU team (the Green Streaks),” Kingsbury said. “I was 19 when I took over jayvee. It was kind of different, being so young. I don’t want to say I was naive, but I wasn’t as focused as I imagine I could have been.”

The Olympians, who beat Enosburg in last year’s D-III final for their 13th state crown, return just four players — all of whom played for Kingsbury at the jayvee level. While Kingsbury said the girls should be ready for “a new strategy, a new style,” she acknowledged a lot of her basketball acumen had been derived from Musty’s tutelage.

Senior guard Emily Speck expects a smooth transition. “We’ve only had two practices so far, but she’s really been pushing us,” she said. “She knows us as a team and she knows what’s going to work well. She’s smart.”

As for the shock waves sent through the program in the wake of the allegations against Musty, junior Mikayla Hodge admitted it’s been trying.

“It’s been difficult. ... It’s been tough on all of us,” she said. “I don’t really know what to say. We’ve got to move on to a new season.”

Said Speck: “We’re focused on this season as a team. We welcome Felicia and she’s going to do a great job.”

Musty’s teams went 211-123 (.632) with a playoff record of 23-12 and two titles.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.