Moffo steps down as Woodland’s girls basketball coach

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By Kyle Brennan, Citizen’s News

Woodland girls basketball coach Jess Moffo yells out instructions during a game against Wolcott in December 2019 at Woodland Regional High School. Moffo stepped down as coach in July. -REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN ARCHIVE

BEACON FALLS — After a decade as the head coach of the Woodland girls basketball program and nearly 15 years of coaching in various roles at the school, Jess Moffo has decided to move on.

Moffo submitted her resignation in July, capping a 10-year run leading the Hawks. She posted a 94-114 record as head coach from 2011-21, including seven state tournament appearances and a run to the 2021 Naugatuck Valley League semifinals.

Moffo cited personal reasons for her decision to resign. In May, her husband, Chris, also resigned from his position as head football coach after four seasons at the helm. Both Moffos began coaching at Woodland as assistants in 2007.

“Woodland took me in with open arms in 2007,” Moffo said. “It was my home, and it was a home to me and my husband. It was a part of our relationship and our life. These were really hard decisions. I absolutely love the kids more than words can describe. The decision had to be made for me and my life, and this was the best time to step away.”

The Hawks’ best seasons under Moffo came over the past two years. They posted a 15-8 mark in 2019-20, falling in the Class M second round to Cromwell, a team that eventually reached the semifinals before the tournament was canceled. In the pandemic-shortened 2021 season, the Hawks went 10-5 and lost to eventual champion Holy Cross in the NVL semifinals.

Moffo said she leaves the basketball program in a good spot. The Hawks are projected to return all but one of their major contributors from last year’s squad.

“Woodland basketball is in good shape,” said Moffo, who expects the team to compete for a division title and maybe more next winter. “I’m not leaving the cupboard bare. They can compete for the next three or four years.”

A hallmark of Moffo’s teams was their intensity and high-energy defensive play, which made them a perennial challenge for even the league’s best teams. As she’s recently watched summer-league games, she noted that some players who played against the Hawks told her that they “hated” playing Woodland because of how hard the team hustled.

“I had good athletes who worked really hard,” Moffo said. “I love those kids. I gave them 110 percent of my time and effort.”

Moffo was also a longtime girls soccer assistant coach and frequently assisted the football team. She said that she will evaluate her options for the upcoming season, whether that’s taking a year off or joining an area school as an assistant coach.

Chris Moffo earlier this summer accepted a position as an assistant coach on Chris Anderson’s football staff at Naugatuck.