Paulla Kolnaski attended Fitch High School in Groton, CT during the Pre-Title IX era when opportunities to play basketball were extremely limited. After graduation in 1969, Kolnaski attended Southern Connecticut State College. She began teaching physical education and coaching girls’ basketball at Stonington High School. At that time, her only basketball experience was the 6-player game.
Paulla was determined to thoroughly learn the game and to pass that knowledge on to her players. She attended clinics and seminars, received input from her father and brother, and eventually developed her own style and coaching philosophy. Her teams compiled a 123-36 record during this first phase of her career. Her fondest basketball memory occurred in 1980, when Stonington was undefeated and won the “M” State Title in overtime. Her team also recorded a 65-game regular season winning streak.
Solar returned to coaching at Stonington in 2001 after taking time to raise a family. Her team won the league championship that year. Stonington was Class M Runners-up in 2004 and in 2005, won the State Class “M” title with a 24-2 record. She was named New London Day “Coach of the Year” after that season.
Solar’s career won-loss record through 2006 is 234-73 (1973-80, 1981-83, 2001-06). Her teams have won several league championships, produced winning seasons in 13 of her 14 seasons as head coach, and she has more than 200 victories.