Buckley steps down as basketball coach after 22 seasons; Kell Steinbach named successor

Scott Buckley talks to Roland Park Country School’s basketball team during a timeout in a game earlier this year. Buckley announced his retirement as Reds’ coach Wednesday after 22 seasons and 364 victories.

by Derek Toney

When asked about his memorable moments as Roland Park Country School basketball coach, Scott Buckley reminiscence about his first season back in 1996.

“We had a bunch of lacrosse kids and I just got here, and that group won 60 games in three years,” said Buckley. “We had some great athletes, but they weren’t college basketball players. They started the foundation.”

Buckley built the Reds into one of the area’s premier programs. Wednesday, Buckley announced his retirement as Roland Park coach.

“The culture of the girls game has changed a little bit and can get a little crazy. That’s taken some of the joy of coaching,” said Buckley. “I just think it’s a good time to get out.”

Buckley will remain assistant Athletic Director at the Baltimore City private school. Assistant Dani Kell Steinbach will take the coaching reigns.

Buckley went 364-207 with the Reds, including a 21-7 mark this season. Roland Park lost to McDonogh School in the IAAM A Conference semifinals last Thursday in what was Buckley’s final game.

In his second season, Buckley led Roland Park to the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) A Division final where they lost to McDonogh School, led by All-Met Player of the Year Vicki Brick, who went on to star at the University of Maryland. The Reds played in six IAAM A championship games, the last in 2015 when they lost to McDonogh at Stevenson University.

The Reds had gained a 3-point lead with two seconds remaining, but were whistled for a foul on a 3-point attempt with no time left. After the floor was cleared of Roland Park fans who stormed the court, thinking the game was over, McDonogh hit all three free throws to force overtime.

McDonogh won 59-52.

After the gut wrenching loss, Buckley calmly answered reporter’s questions.

“If you’re going to take all the great stuff when you’re winning then you got to take the flip side, and you got to show the kids that,” said Buckley. “We lost and it’s OK.”

Buckley helped guide 14 players to Division I status and six players scored 1,000-plus points during his tenure. He was named All-Met Coach of the Year in 1998.

“Coach Buckley has been the face of RPCS basketball throughout the past two decades as basketball in Baltimore has evolved significantly,” said Roland Park Athletic Director Carol Hatton. “We have remained relevant because of his commitment to the game, the institution and our student athletes.”

Dani Kell Steinbach (front) will have the first chair as new Roland Park coach. Kell Steinbach, a former Red standout, has been an assistant the last seven seasons.

Buckley said the program won’t miss a beat with Kell Steinbach, who’s been an assistant for seven seasons. The William & Mary graduate was a two-time All-Met standout for Buckley and was the Reds’ second all-time leading scorer (1,236) when she graduated in 2004.

“We’ve been talking about it for awhile and she had time to think if this was something she really wanted to do,” said Buckley. “She knew I was getting ready to leave and that I would really want her to have it. She has a great feel for the game.”

Buckley said he’s looking forward to spending the entire Christmas holiday with his wife and 13-year old daughter after years of coaching Roland Park in a holiday tournament. He knows it will be tough come this November when preseason practice comes around, but says he’s excited about starting a new chapter.

“I got to coach a lot of good players, but more importantly, a lot of good people,” said Buckley. “Those relationships last forever.”