The Aegis Sports

Champion basketball coach Holly Ismail taking over John Carroll girls program

There’s a familiar name and face taking over the girls basketball program at The John Carroll School.

Holly Ismail, who guided Patterson Mill’s girls teams to Maryland state championships in 2014, 2015 and 2017, has been named head coach for the 2021-2022 season.


“I knew that I would coach high school again, I really just didn’t have the goal to coach in college, honestly,” Ismail said. “I said I wanted to coach again, I did miss it. My work really didn’t allow me to continue to coach a few years ago, but high school is really just where it’s at for me. I knew I’d be back at some point, I just honestly, didn’t know it would be this year.”

The move represents a return to the Patriot athletic program for Ismail, who previously served as an assistant in the program during the 2017 season. Ismail’s youngest child, Qadir, is a 2018 graduate of John Carroll and currently a senior at Villanova University where he plays football.


“Actually, a friend reached out to me to let me know,” Ismail said about the job opening. “It’s funny, my friends and family kind of continually ask, ‘when you going to coach again?’, and a friend reached out when it became open to just let me know. I wasn’t looking for something right know, but I knew that I had more flexibility with my job.”

Ismail says she sifted through what she would want to put in the program for it to be successful and decided, ”yeah, I can definitely do it and I put my resume in and here I am.”

John Carroll Director of Athletics Seth Goldberg said, “We are extremely excited to welcome Holly back to The John Carroll School. Her basketball credentials are second to none and success has followed her in every step she has taken, both as a player and a coach. Even with all her accolades, this decision was made based on her passion to help our girls grow. She will be a tremendous role model and her vision and philosophy of building a successful, positive culture here aligns perfectly with our school’s mission and direction.”

After a stellar high school career, Ismail played for Syracuse University where she currently holds the record for the most blocked shots in game, season and career. She also ranks third for the Orange in career points scored and was selected to the 1991 All Big East team. Ismail is also a member of the Connecticut Women’s Basketball and Volleyball Halls of Fame.

Ismail has been away from the sideline for a few years. Most recent coaching role was as an assistant coach at Harford Community College, where she helped guide the Owls to a Region 20 Championship as well as a berth in the NJCAA DI championship.

She currently serves as Director of Regional Recruiting & Recruiting Specialist for Next College Student Athlete, based in Chicago where she assists student-athletes in successfully navigating the recruiting process, giving her valuable experience in aiding her players in continuing their academic and athletic careers.

“I just really want to bring a level of consistency to the program. ... I always come with the mindset of winning and winning championships, that’s certainly my goal coming in,” Ismail said. “They are in the B Conference (IAAM), I really just want to nurture every student-athlete that I’m able to work with. I want their to be a certain level of respect for John Carroll girls basketball, I want to be able to keep Harford County kids home. I want to build a winning program, a consistent winning program.”