Millbrook Grad Cottino to Coach Pioneer Men’s Soccer Team | Winchester Star

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When Keith Kilmer resigned after 18 years as a boys and girls football coach at Millbrook in June, Rhonda Cottino, one of his former players and assistant coaches, said: “I always wanted to shape my life. on him.

Millbrook announced on Friday that Cottino had taken another big step in that direction.

Cottino – who graduated in 2008 as a star footballer under her maiden name, Rhonda Runion – will succeed Kilmer as the Pioneer boys’ football coach.

Kilmer offered Cottino an assistant coach position in person while attending his last game at the University of Shippensburg in 2012. In a phone interview, Cottino recounted his experiences with Kilmer – she helped his boys’ teams from 2013-15 and 2019-20 – and at the club level made it clear to her that she wanted to someday run her own high school program. Cottino was assistant coach of the Winchester United women’s under-12 team from 2013 to 2015 and the head coach of the 2010 Shenandoah FC Elite men’s team since 2018.

“[Head coach at Millbrook] has always been a focus of mine, ”said Cottino, a midfielder / forward who was on the All-Northwestern District first team all four years at Millbrook and began his college career in the NCAA Division. I Campbell University. “I had no idea when or if Kilmer was going to resign. I never wanted to do anything other than assist him while he was there. But given this opportunity, it’s definitely something I’ve been interested in for a long time. I am grateful for the opportunity and the support of the Millbrook administration.

Cottino is a medical assistant whose husband Matt teaches at Millbrook and coaches the JV boys’ team. The Millbrook boys’ soccer program will therefore have a strong family bond, and Cottino wants his team to feel a bond with the whole school.

“We want, as a family and as coaches there, just to make the program something the community loves to watch,” said Cottino, “but also to make the team a team that supports other teams. sports, and just kind of creating that culture at Millbrook where we just support the whole school.

Kilmer led the boys ‘program to a 110-71-14 record in 11 seasons, including a 9-5 record in 2021 which included the Pioneers’ first place finish in a regional tournament since 2014.

“I know what’s been going on there the last few years, and I still know quite a few players, or at least they know me,” Cottino said. “I just want to build on what Kilmer has already put out there and extend the legacy of someone I’ve always admired.

“I’m going to do things a little differently. I think every coach will do things in their own way. But it’s a good program, and that’s what I want to continue.

In a phone interview on Friday, Kilmer said Cottino’s attitude was one of the main reasons he had brought her into the coaching staff twice.

“She has the same expectations for her athletes as she does for herself,” said Kilmer. “Which, clearly, to access Division I, places quite high demands on him.

“It was difficult to train her, because she’s so intense, and she trains the same way. She expects everyone to be at her intensity, and that’s an absolute comment.

Kilmer expects her players to react as they will see how much she has invested in them as people.

“For the seasons she helped me out, I doubt you would find a player who didn’t like her at all as a coach,” said Kilmer. “She is very accessible, she is very nice. She really cares. His profession is benevolent. She is a medical assistant. She cares about people.

“She has intensity. She has the IQ, no doubt. She has coaching experience. She’s been around the game at every level, right up to Division I college. To me, she’s just the complete set.

In a press release, Millbrook student activities coordinator Scott Mankins said he was impressed with Cottino’s work ethic and passion since playing for the Pioneers, and added that she continued to make an impact as an assistant coach.

“Back in her days as an assistant coach for our men’s soccer team, her knowledge of the technical and tactical aspects of the game was very evident,” said Mankins. “It’s always nice when one of us wants to come back to Millbrook to lead one of our teams and I have no doubts that Coach Cottino will continue to build on the past successes of our men’s soccer team.


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