After 25 seasons as the girls varsity basketball coach at Germantown Academy, Dr. Sherri Retif, a member of Germantown Academy’s Athletic Hall of Fame, announced that she will retire from coaching at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Retif will remain a member of the Middle School faculty.
“What a privilege it has been to witness just part of Sherri Retif’s incredible 25-year legacy at GA during my time here,” said Head of School Rich Schellhas 1760. “Her program’s statistics are mind-boggling, as is the number of student-athletes she coached and mentored who went on to play – and achieve notable success - at the college and professional level. A multiple Hall of Fame inductee, Sherri always coaches with intensity and heart. While teaching, coaching, and building a truly legendary basketball program, Sherri somehow managed to simultaneously pursue and earn her doctorate degree. For the Retifs, coaching GA’s basketball team has always been a family affair; she raised her boys on the court, her entire family attended nearly every game, and once her beloved granddaughter came on the scene, Sherri’s heart grew even bigger. Now, after more than a quarter century of coaching at the highest high school level, Sherri has earned the right to take just half a step back, to see more of her granddaughter’s own games, and to pursue her many passions while continuing to teach PE like her hair is on fire here at GA. Thanks, Coach, for maintaining a level of excellence that left us all more than a little breathless and proudly in awe.”
Retif amassed 539 wins in her time in Fort Washington and compiled a record of 772-215 in her 37-year coaching career. The Patriots won almost 80 percent of their games under Retif, who guided her teams to 20 Inter-Academic Athletic League championships – including 14 straight titles and 109 straight league wins. She also led GA to four Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) championships, the most recent coming in 2019 when the team was ranked No. 13 nationally by MaxPreps. The Patriots were PAISAA runners-up four times under Retif.
“I am grateful for the opportunity I had to coach some of the most amazing young women to wear a Patriot uniform,” said Coach Retif. “Their successes and triumphs are held dear to my heart: as people I hold them even dearer. The twists and turns and highs and lows of basketball enriched my life and helped me grow as a coach and a person. To all my former captains, your ability to lead is still etched in my memory. It was a pure privilege to be a part of your legacy. Thanks to our amazing administration, particularly Tim Ginter, Dakota Carroll, and Rich Schellhas. I am most grateful for the love and support of Bender, Cameron, Makayla, and Stan. You made the experience even more worthwhile. Love to all Patriot fans.”
Since coming to GA in 1998-99, Retif turned an already powerful program into an outright machine. In the history of GA girls basketball, just 16 players have topped 1,000 career points and Retif coached 13 of them. She also mentored 38 GA student-athletes who went on to play college basketball, with four continuing to be NCAA Division I coaches. Retif was inducted into Germantown Academy’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017 – the same year in which she had a court named after her in the school’s new Annex -- and is also a member of Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame and Tulane University’s Hall of Fame as a player.
Her time at GA is highlighted by the 2016 Patriots led by Erin Lindahl ’16 and Kendall Grasela ’16 who brought the Inter-Ac title back to GA campus both their junior and senior seasons. The 2009 Patriots led by Maggie Lucas ’10 and Jesse Carey ’09 completed the season with a 31-0 record and were recognized in three different national post-season polls, including a ranking of No. 8 in the nation by MaxPreps. The 2007 Team, led by Caroline Doty ’09, completed their season ranked 17th in the country by Sports Illustrated and #1 in Southeastern PA by The Philadelphia Inquirer. GA finished the season ranked No. 1 in the east and No. 8 in the nation by USA Today in 2001, behind Joey Rhoads ’03 and Laura Kurz ’04.
In addition to coaching school teams, Retif has also had the opportunity to lead the best talent in the country on occasion. Retif has coached at the Nike All-America Basketball Camp in 1996 and was an Assistant Coach for Team USA Basketball in 2007. In 2008, Retif had the honor of being the head coach for the McDonald’s All-America Game in Milwaukee. She has also been a presenter, mentor, and panelist for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association since 1993.
Outside of coaching, Retif serves as the Middle School Physical Education Department Chair. She received her Doctorate of Ministry from Fordham University in 2016 and has been a guest lecturer for Villanova University’s Sport and Spirituality course. She served as the Middle School Athletic Director at GA from 1998 to 2010, and established curriculum in the Upper School called, “Sports Shape Lives,” and “Building Your Inner Coach.”
Retif has shared her years of coaching knowledge in different books as well. She co-authored More Than a Game in 2006, was a contributing author for Youth Sport and Spirituality in 2015 and authored “The Soul of Sports” in America Magazine in 2020.
Germantown Academy will begin its search for Retif’s replacement immediately. The Patriots, who went 19-11 (9-3 in Inter-Ac play) this past season, look to return 10 players to the varsity squad next season.