A couple of weeks ago, Londonderry girls basketball coach John Fagula overheard his players during practice talking about dresses. He thought they were discussing the prom so he got angry at them for not focusing on basketball.
Come to find out, the girls actually were discussing getting together to take a team picture in their dresses to give to Fagula after he won the 600th game of his legendary 30-year high school coaching career.
Fagula learned his mistake last night after victory No. 600, which was a 77-24 rout over Timberlane in Plaistow.
“It made me feel like a piece of crap for yelling at them,” Fagula said jokingly by phone last night.
Fagula has had a truly remarkable coaching career. He spent the first 20 years of it coaching the Nashua girls, going 432-72, including winning 120 straight games against New Hampshire teams at one point. With Nashua, he won 11 Class L titles and had five nationally ranked teams. His 1987 Nashua squad won the USA Today national title.
He has a 168-62 record in 10 years at Londonderry and a 600-134 overall record in 30 seasons.
Fagula, who holds the state girls basketball wins record, said any coach who sticks around long enough can pile up victories. What makes him proudest is not the win total but the winning percentage.
Fagula’s teams have averaged 20 wins a season and he has a .817 winning percentage.
“To sustain that winning percentage, that’s what makes me feel good about what we’ve done over the years,” Fagula said.
The Londonderry coach also received a cake and the game ball, which will be put into the case at the front of the Londonderry gym.
Fagula said he plans to retire after next season. His team consists of several juniors and he wants to stick around until they graduate.