Former volunteer assistant appointed to succeed Tracy Ludwig at Honesdale.
As Reveille blasted over the loud speakers and echoed around the grounds at Bryn Mawr Mountain Retreat & Conference Center, Pilar Beam smiled and extended her hand in greeting.
"We're very busy getting ready for the campers," she said, walking briskly into the main dining hall.
"I think it's going to be a great summer."
Beam plays an integral role at Bryn Mawr, which is located just off the Oregon Turnpike outside Honesdale and served as Five Star Basketball Camp's home for many years.
Pilar oozes energy and enthusiasm, two qualities that should serve her well in her latest adventure, which was made public at Tuesday's meeting of the Wayne Highlands School Board.
A New Era
By a vote of 9-0, Beam was named head coach of Honesdale's girls varsity basketball team. She will succeed Tracy Ludwig as Lady Hornet skipper.
"I'm really excited for the opportunity," Pilar said with another big smile. "It's definitely going to be a challenge, but I believe that I'm ready for it."
Honesdale High School Principal Diane Scarfalloto, who led the team that eventually recommended Beam to the school board, was quick to agree.
"This was an exhaustive search," she said. "It was a long and thorough process that we took very seriously.
"I'm very happy with the outcome because I think Pilar is absolutely the right choice. She cares deeply about the kids, the school, and the community."
Setting the Stage
Beam comes to the Maple City by way of her native Puerto Rico.
There, she lived a life steeped in basketball.
Pilar played at the high school, collegiate and semi-pro levels before finally hanging up her sneakers to embark upon a coaching career.
"It's in my blood," she said with a laugh. "I can't even imagine not being involved with basketball."
Beam first came to the US during the 2000-01 season and she's been here permanently since '05.
She began her career at Bryn Mawr as liaison between Five Star and the camp proper, then moved on to become Operations Manager three years ago.
While those positions kept her busy, Beam longed to get back into coaching.
Her first step was lending a hand with Honesdale Missy Basketball. She then met Tracy Ludwig and asked to be recommended as a volunteer assistant at Wayne Highlands.
Beam served two years with the Lady Hornet varsity and one as a head coach at the junior high level.
This spring, when the school board announced that Ludwig's contract would not be renewed, Beam didn't hesitate to apply for the job.
"If it wasn't for Tracy, I wouldn't be in this position now," Pilar said. "She gave me a chance and I'll always be very grateful for that. I wish her nothing but the best of luck in the future."
By the Numbers
Ludwig's years at the helm were tempestuous, but undeniably successful.
While her aggressive and sometimes caustic coaching style rubbed some folks the wrong way, her overall numbers were outstanding.
Ludwig piled up 86 wins in six seasons. She also led the Lady Hornets to back-to-back District Two Class AAA championships.
According to Scarfalloto, the decision to "move in another direction" was difficult, but one that had to be made "for the good of the program overall."
Honesdale's principal, who also starred herself for the Red & Black, consulted with Athletic Director Chuck Alexander and Vice Principal John Kretschmer in heading the search committee.
All three are more than satisfied with Beam's elevation from junior high to the varsity bench.
"In my opinion, as far as basketball knowledge goes, I think Pilar was head and shoulders above everybody else," Diane said.
"She has extensive experience as a player and a coach in Puerto Rico and the United States."
Beam is grateful for the chance to coach such a talented group of players. She says that the Lady Hornets will focus on tweaking its defensive scheme and developing a better half-court presence.
"I'm really big on defense and fundamentals," Pilar said. "This is a very talented group of girls. I hope can take districts again and maybe even win a Lackawanna League championship, too."