Editor’s note: The following article featuring UIU alumna Sue Liddy is being republished with permission from The Record in Bergen County, New Jersey. The UIU Office of Communications especially thanks The Record staff writer Chris Iseman and photographer Viorel Florescu for allowing us to share Coach Liddy’s monumental accomplishment with the Peacock family.
By Chris Iseman The Record
Her players surrounded and hugged her, streamers flew out from the stands, and spectators gave her a standing ovation. Former players, opposing coaches, family; they all were here to see this and support a coach who’s long been part of the fabric of North Jersey basketball.
In her 41st season as the head basketball coach at Holy Angels, Sue Liddy earned her 700th victory when her Angels beat Bergen Tech, 53-31, Thursday (Jan. 14).
Liddy never discussed the milestone with her players. To her, it belongs to them – both current and former– as much as it belongs to her.
“They may have talked about it by themselves,” Liddy said. “But I never talked about it because as I said, ‘It’s ours, it’s not mine. Let’s just play basketball and whatever happens, happens.’”
The Angels’ offense rolled early. By the end of the first quarter, Holy Angels (6-4) had a 22-6 lead. Elizabeth Garcia finished with a game-high 20 points. Zoe Cockinos added nine for the Angels.
Bergen Tech (5-4) came out strong in the second half, but its deficit was too much to overcome. Faith Diaz led the Knights with 11 points.
Even with a 20-plus point lead, Liddy still was intense, still coaching as if her team was clinging to a close lead. Her competitiveness never waned.
It never has during her 41 years on the sideline.
“If you don’t have it, you might as well not play or coach anymore. When you lose that, it’s time to walk away,” Liddy said. “I’ve always had the drive.”
For her players, it’s what’s helped make her so successful.
“It’s awesome,” Cockinos said. “It always keeps us going. We always have fire and we’re always ready to go all the time, because of her.”
Amanda Pepe graduated from Holy Angels in 2012 after playing for Liddy on the varsity level for two years. She was part of the program for all four.
Pepe said she saw Liddy get her 600th win, and on winter break from Stonehill College, she wanted to be there for 700, also.
“She always was there to help us out,” Pepe said. “Whether it was a school problem, or a basketball problem, she was always willing to go the extra mile to really help us.”
Former Paramus Catholic coach Al Roth, who retired after last season, competed against Liddy for 24 years. He said Liddy was the favorite coach of his late wife, Karolyn, who died from cancer in June 2014.
“She’d say, ‘Why can’t you be like Sue Liddy? Nice and calm, poised,’” Roth said.
“That’s why I came tonight, to show my respect for what she’s done. It’s just absolutely incredible.”
Roth and Liddy competed often – four times just last season alone – but they became friends through the years. Roth said when Karolyn was undergoing chemotherapy, Liddy always checked in to see how she was doing.
Liddy is respected throughout North Jersey athletics. She’s already cemented a legacy.
She has 700 wins now, but there are plenty victories still to come.
“I never in my wildest dreams, when I came out of college, thought that any of this was possible,” Liddy said. “Not at all.”
Sue Liddy ’74 was inducted into the UIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002. As a member of three women’s teams, she lettered in basketball, softball and volleyball. She served as a basketball captain in 1973 and 1974, and was captain of the softball team in 1974 while alternating between shortstop and catcher. Liddy competed in women’s athletics during the time Upper Iowa was a member of the Associated Intercollegiate Athletic Women, prior to the formation of the IIAC conference for women in 1983.
Upon graduation, Liddy started her teaching-coaching career at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, New Jersey, as head basketball coach and assistant athletic director. In 1985, she was appointed athletic director.
A graduate of Rosary Academy High School in Sparkill, New York, Liddy resides in Emerson, New Jersey.