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Legendary Detroit Country Day basketball coach Frank Orlando retires

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Frank Orlando

Detroit Country Day’s Frank Orlando, the state’s all-time winningest coach in girls basketball (797-126), has decided to retire.

Orlando, 76, said his players gave him a memorable going-away present – a 58-57 win over No. 16 Grosse Pointe North and Miss Basketball finalist Julia Ayrault on Feb. 28 in Country Day’s final home game.

Orlando coached at Country Day since 1981 and led the program to a record 13 state championships, including back-to-back Class B state titles in 2017-18. Country Day finished 12-9 this season, losing to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep in the district final, 71-59.

“I had a stroke two years ago and I had a harder time with everything, and I just felt like it was time to go,” Orlando told The Detroit News on Thursday about his decision to retire.

More: Detroit Country Day girls basketball coach Frank Orlando earns Morgan Wootten Award

“We had our last game at Country Day and we beat Grosse Pointe North. We had over 100 former players there and it was tremendous.

“Really, that has the most meaning, my relationships with the kids. Don’t get me wrong – the wins and the 13 state championships are all good – but what I feel mostly good about is the kids.”

Orlando had some tremendous players at Country Day, including Peggy Evans (Carr), who scored a state championship game record 47 points in the Class C title game win over Saginaw Valley Lutheran 30 years ago. Evans (Carr) went on to guide Inkster to the Class A state title in 2011.

Orlando also had a McDonald’s All-American in Madison Williams in 2010, and another great star in Destiny Pitts, who is averaging 16 points this season for Minnesota. 

Aerial Powers was a third-team All-American at Michigan State after playing for Orlando.

Jasmine Powell, who helped Country Day win the state championship last season, averaged 18.4 points, eight assists and 5.7 rebounds during her senior year and will join Pitts at Minnesota next year.

Orlando doesn’t know who Country Day will hire as his successor.

“I don’t know who it will be, but I’d like to see one of my former players take over,” Orlando said. “I hope they do that.”