After a nearly 10-week search, interim Director of Athletics Peter Roby hired Adrienne Shibles away from Bowdoin to become the fifth head coach in Dartmouth women’s basketball history. Shibles’s hiring makes her the second “Little Ivies” head coach to make the jump to the “Big Ivies” in the last three years.
(Shibles also becomes the second important Ivy League hire from Bowdoin in the last three months, after Penn selected Whitney Soule as its new Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions.)
“I’m excited to welcome Adrienne and her family to our Dartmouth community,” Roby said in a Dartmouth Athletics press release. “She is a proven winner with a commitment to empowering young women to reach their full potential in every way. She is well respected throughout college basketball and will provide our women’s basketball program with dynamic leadership for many years to come.”
Shibles leaves the Polar Bears after a highly successful 13-year tenure (2008-2021) with a record of 281-67 (80.7%) and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. Her teams made it to the Sweet Sixteen eight times, including five of the last six competitive seasons, and the Final Four twice. The 2019-20 team looked primed for a run to its third straight Final Four, entering the NCAA Tournament with a 27-2 mark, but the tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Knox, Maine native and 1991 Bates College graduate was a two-time captain of the basketball team and a 1,000-point scorer. Afterwards, she coached basketball at Babson College and followed that by coaching basketball and soccer at Colby College. While obtaining a master’s degree in Exercise and Sport Studies at Smith College, Shibles was an assistant and head basketball coach at Elms College. She then made the jump to Swarthmore College, where she went 138-96 (59%) from 1996 through 2005, before becoming the Dean of Athletics and co-curricular programs at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine for three years.
“The College is incredibly grateful for Adrienne’s commitment to supporting the development and well-being of the women within our basketball program and we all will cherish the success our team achieved under her leadership,” said Bowdoin Director of Athletics Tim Ryan in a school press release. “Adrienne’s career at Bowdoin was bookended by NESCAC Championships, but her true success will be measured by the countless lives she has positively impacted within and outside our campus community.”
During her time at Bowdoin, Shibles was honored as Coach of the Year in Maine four times, regionally three times, twice in the New England Small College Athletics Conference (NESCAC) and once by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association for all of Division III. She has also twice been selected to lead Team USA’s U16 squad, as a court coach in 2019 and head coach for the summer of 2021.
Shibles will helm a Dartmouth squad that has won 17 Ivy League titles but none since 2009. The Big Green have not made it to any of the Ivy League Tournaments and only finished in the upper division once in the last 12 years, a fourth place finish in 2016. The new coach has her work cut out for her, as the team only returns one starter from the 2019-20 team, rising senior guard Katie Douglas, and the lengthy coaching search may have hampered the team’s recruiting.
Despite the challenges, Dartmouth’s new coach remains optimistic.
“I would like to thank Peter Roby and the search committee for this amazing opportunity,” Shibles said in a Dartmouth press release. “The process revealed that Dartmouth is a perfect fit for me, my family and my coaching philosophy, combining high-achieving academics with elite women’s basketball. I’m extremely excited and can’t wait to get started.”
In May 2019, Princeton found its replacement for legendary head coach Courtney Banghart in longtime NESCAC coach Carla Berube. The choice was right for the Tigers as Berube went 26-1 with an undefeated championship Ivy League team and a No. 17 national ranking in 2019-20. Berube, whose Tufts teams had many battles against Shibles’ Polar Bears, had high praise for her longtime friend Monday.
“Dartmouth has made an outstanding hire in naming Adrienne Shibles as their new women’s basketball coach,” Berube said in Dartmouth’s press release. “I had the pleasure of competing against Adrienne’s teams during her tenure at Bowdoin. Her teams are tough, resilient, well prepared and play with great joy. Adrienne is a wonderful leader and empowers the women in her program to unleash their maximum potential as athletes, scholars and servants. I’m excited for the Ivy League and the women of Dartmouth basketball.”
Banghart, the present head coach at the University of North Carolina and an all-time Dartmouth great, also gave her enthusiastic support to the newest member of the Ancient Eight.
“As a Dartmouth alum, I was highly interested in who the next head coach would be for the past, present and future Wearers of the Green,” Banghart said in Dartmouth’s release. “In hiring Adrienne, we’ve earned a proven winner, a talented coach, a tireless worker and a passionate recruiter. Her Dartmouth teams will surely be prepared, and they will compete, the truest signs of a great coach, Adrienne’s former players adore her and I trust that her future players will, too. Adrienne deeply values the student-athlete experience, and she understands all that makes Dartmouth special. She will be a great addition to the Upper Valley and to the Ivy League as a whole.”
Updated 5/14/21 to correct the spelling of Knox, Maine.