Ivy Hoops Online’s writing staff voted on where all eight Ivy women’s and men’s basketball teams would end up for the 2019-20 season. Our projected order of finish for the women:
After three years without any head coaching changes, things changed in a big way at the end of April. Princeton’s Courtney Banghart left after 12 seasons and seven Ivy titles to rebuild the program at the University of North Carolina. The Tigers search lasted a month, ending with the hiring of former UConn guard and long-time Tufts head coach Carla Berube.
On the men’s side, the conference almost lost James Jones to St. John’s, but the Yale coach finished as the Red Storm’s runner-up. Weeks later, Jones signed an extension that will keep him in New Haven until the end of the 2025-2026 campaign. In May, Brown’s Mike Martin was reported to be at Holy Cross interviewing for the Crusaders job, but a probable extension kept him in Providence.
Several Ivy assistants made the jump to head coaching positions with Columbia’s (and former Harvard’s) Kenny Blakeney heading to Howard, Penn’s Bernadette Laukaitis returning to Holy Family, Brown’s Tyler Simms going to Clark, and Brown’s Sara Binkhorst moving to Wheaton.
In the off-season’s strangest coaching news, Dartmouth promoted assistant coach Pete Hutchins to associate head coach on March 19th, only to see him jump to an assistant coaching position at George Mason on May 2nd.
The complete list of changes, from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020, for all 16 Ivy teams are noted below.
Seventh-year head coach Belle Koclanes announced the upcoming schedule for the Dartmouth women’s team on Tuesday. Preparing to earn its first-ever appearance in the Ivy Tournament, the team’s 13-game nonconference slate is heavy on regional opponents, but light on teams from last year’s postseason.
The Big Green will take on fellow New Englanders Vermont, Merrimack, Fairfield, Maine, UMass-Lowell, New Hampshire and Boston University. While most are familiar foes, this year’s contest with Merrimack will be a first, as the Warriors make the jump to Division I.
Dartmouth will visit Loyola (Chicago) and Northwestern in early December, as a homecoming trip for senior guard Annie McKenna of nearby Elmwood Park. The Wildcats, coming off a successful season that ended as runner-up in the 2019 WNIT, are one of three non-Ivy teams that played in the postseason. The other two are MAC champion Buffalo and America East title-holder Maine, both making it into the NCAA Tournament.
- The Brown men’s team officially hired Cooper Handelsman as an assistant coach and Sam Hershberger as its Director of Basketball Operations. The Handelsman hiring was first reported at HoopDirt.com and later noted in IHO’s June 6 roundup.
Handelsman was a point guard for Kenyon College (2011-2015), before spending the 2015-2016 season as Lehigh’s video coordinator. He has been with the Hoop Group since the end of that season, and has been Director of Hoop Group Elite for the last two and half years. Hershberger, a four year member of the Elon basketball team (2012-2016) spent 2017-2019 as a student manager at the University of Florida while he obtained his Master’s in Applied Physiology and applied Kinesiology.
- Following a 11-plus week paid suspension, Auburn University reinstated former Penn assistant coach Ira Bowman to his similar position on Saturday afternoon. The 1996 Ivy League Player of the Year was suspended by Auburn just before the SEC Tournament, after former Penn coach Jerome Allen testified that Bowman was involved in a scheme resulting in bribes by Florida businessman Philip Esformes to get his son, Morris Esformes, on the basketball roster for the fall of 2015.
Sam Blum of AL.com wrote that an Auburn athletics spokesman confirmed the news but did not have the results of the school’s investigation or information regarding the reasoning for Bowman’s reinstatement. AL.com has filed an open records request to obtain this information. Bowman returned to his reported $250,000 a year job, just in time to help with one of the biggest recruiting weekends in program history.
Kevin Bonner, Penn’s senior associate athletic director, governance and administration, did not respond to an email from IHO regarding the reinstatement, the Auburn investigation or any Penn investigation of Bowman.
Prior the arrival of Courtney Banghart in 2007, the Princeton women’s team had zero Ivy League titles.
Twelve years later, the Tigers have seven Ivy championships, eight NCAA Tournament appearances, two trips to the WNIT and two Ivy Tournament titles. With Banghart’s departure to UNC Tuesday, Princeton athletic director Mollie Marcoux Samaan has an incredibly important hire to make. If she chooses correctly, the Tigers may continue to hang onto their place atop the Ancient Eight. If not, the Orange & Black run the risk of dropping into the second division, fighting for spots in the Ivy and NCAA Tournaments on an annual basis.
While Princeton Athletics has noted that a nationwide search has begun, there have been no specific names mentioned. Who might Marcoux Samaan consider for the chance to add to the legacy that Banghart left behind?
In the latest episode of Inside Ivy Hoops, Ivy Hoops Online editor Mike Tony is joined by Dartmouth coach Belle Koclanes and IHO writer George Clark.
Mike and George sound off on the Ivy League’s announcement this week of the conference tournament rotation schedule through 2025, analyze the Princeton women’s huge win at Penn Tuesday night, look back at the past weekend of Ivy action and ahead to the penultimate weekend of league play:
With teams a few short weeks away from actual games, here is a collection of off-season stories to catch up on before the start of the 2018-2019 season.
The Dartmouth women’s basketball team rebounded from a disappointing ‘16-’17 season (8-19 overall, 3-11 Ivy) to go 15-12 overall and 7-7 in the conference in ‘17-’18, missing the Ivy Tournament by one game. The Big Green lose three important players to graduation, guard Kate Letkiewicz, forward Andi Norman, and center Olivia Smith. Letkiewicz, a second team All-Ivy selection, started all 27 games, averaging 14.0 points, 2.7 three pointers, 6.0 rebounds, and 36.9 minutes per contest. Norman started 25 games with 5.8 points, 1.6 made threes, and 2.9 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game. Smith, who averaged 7.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 20.3 minutes per game, started 8 of 21 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Princeton on Feb. 10.
On Thursday, Coach Belle Koclanes announced the program’s five new members of the Class of 2022, who will attempt to help the team replenish its losses, build upon last year’s successes and, hopefully, move into the Ivy League’s upper division throughout the next several years.