HAVERHILL — Melissa Tarpy was part of one of the greatest dynasties in Massachusetts high school sports history.
She played on the 1992 and 1994 Haverhill High Division 1 state championship girls basketball teams.
Kevin Woelfel guided the Brown and Gold to six state titles in 12 years. The Hillies have fallen on hard times, though. Last year’s club went 3-17 and twice was held under 10 points in a game.
Tarpy, yesterday was named the new head coach, taking over for Bob Melillo, who after four years left for the head job at Lynnfield High. She hopes to bring the program back to respectability after nearly a decade of struggles.
“It’s definitely exciting,” said Tarpy, who lives in Haverhill with her two elementary school-aged daughters. “I’m excited to meet the girls and build the program back up again. It’s funny, everybody always talks about the dynasty. Of course that’s important, but they have to believe in themselves and create their own chapter.”
Tarpy was the JV coach the last two years at Greater Lawrence Tech and prior to that coached for a year at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., where she was also sports information director. She also coached last year with the New England Warrior AAU program and was Woelfel’s assistant during the 1998-99 season.
While it may be a tough job, Tarpy, who battled through a series of serious knee injuries during her playing career, has never backed down from a challenge.
“I wouldn’t have applied if I didn’t think I was ready,” said Tarpy, a member of the Endicott College Hall of Fame for her basketball and softball prowess. “It’s always exciting to go back to where you played. It was such a big part of my life. This was a good fit for me.