Belle Koclanes steps down as Dartmouth women’s coach

Belle Koclanes is leaving Dartmouth to become the president of a Delaware nonprofit focused on leadership development. (Ivy League)

Belle Koclanes is moving on.

After eight years at the helm of Dartmouth women’s basketball, Koclanes announced on Wednesday her departure from the program to become the President of Strive: How You Lead Matters, a Wilmington, Del.-based nonprofit.

“This is an extremely unique opportunity for me to continue to share my passion for leadership development with an organization that inspired me to pursue a career in coaching back in 2002,” Koclanes said in a statement posted to the Dartmouth Athletics, noting that three program alumnae who played for Koclanes, Nicola Zimmer ’14, Emily Slagle ’18 and Lakin Roland ’16 (an assistant under Koclanes since 2018) have all participated as young coaches in Strive’s foundational program, Sports Challenge.

“Leaving Dartmouth for Strive is an inside foot pivot,” Koclanes said.

Koclanes will stay on at Dartmouth until March 31 before beginning her new position. A national search for Koclanes’s successor will start immediately, the school announced.

Dartmouth went 77-117 (.396) overall and 34-64 (.347) under Koclanes starting with the 2013-14 season, when she took over for Chris Wielgus, who became the all-time winningest coach in 28 seasons across two stints leading the Big Green from 1976 to 1984 and 1993 to 2013.

The Big Green never won an Ivy League championship or made a postseason or Ivy League Tournament appearance under Koclanes, coming just short of the tourney with fifth-place conference finishes in 2018 and 2019. Still, the Big Green were typically strong defensively under Koclanes, and 11 of Koclanes’s former players are now high school or college coaches.

Dartmouth’s other assistant under Koclanes is Kelcie Rombach, who like Roland joined the staff in 2018. Past assistants under Koclanes include Princeton ’11 standout player and assistant coach Addie Micir, who is currently associate head coach at Lehigh, and Portsmouth, N.H. native Maria Williamson, who took over at Chicago last season after five years as an assistant at Loyola Chicago and saluted Koclanes in a statement Wednesday.

“Her focus on having a growth mindset, being solution-oriented, and positive motivates all around her to act in this same way,” Williamson said. It is unique, special and why Coach Belle’s impact at Dartmouth will be felt for a long time to come. I’m excited for her to lead and develop the Strive community in the same way.”

Yale head coach Allison Guth also applauded Koclanes in a statement.

“This is a bittersweet day as I congratulate someone who is most deserving of her exciting endeavor as the newest President of Strive,” Guth said. There is no doubt she will tackle this opportunity with the same passion and character as she did coaching her young women at Dartmouth.

Strive focuses on character-driven leadership by partnering with young people and adults nationwide in schools, athletic leagues and community organizations to develop leaders, according to the nonprofit’s website.

“I’d like to thank the college, athletic department and our Dartmouth women’s basketball family across every generation and roster for the opportunity to wear the Green,” Koclanes said. “It was an honor to lead our women’s basketball program these past eight seasons, and I look forward to celebrating our 18th championship in the very near future.”

 

What to expect when Ivy League basketball returns

As this Ivy non-season progresses, we thought it’d make sense for us to do an Ivy Hoops Online contributors’ roundtable looking ahead to next season, assuming there is one:

Read moreWhat to expect when Ivy League basketball returns

Ivy hoops roundup: Graduate transfers galore

The Ivy League’s longstanding policy of only extending eligibility to student-athletes in their first four years of undergraduate enrollment, as expected, is prompting an increasingly long list of talented seniors becoming graduate transfers.

Read moreIvy hoops roundup: Graduate transfers galore

Former Dartmouth standout Brendan Barry signs with Temple

T

Temple announced Friday that Brendan Barry has signed a financial aid agreement to attend the university after three seasons at Dartmouth.

The Big Green had to go without Barry’s standout three-point shooting and ball distribution last season , which he missed due to injury. Barry had decided earlier this year to return to the Big Green rather than play elsewhere as a graduate transfer.

A native of Fair Haven, N.J., Barry averaged 9.8 points and three assists per game in his three seasons at Dartmouth.

Read moreFormer Dartmouth standout Brendan Barry signs with Temple

Ivy hoops roundup – Aug. 1, 2020

Back on the Jazz 

Miye Oni returned to the Utah Jazz official 17-man roster for the Jazz’s NBA season reopening win over the New Orleans Pelicans in Orlando on TNT Thursday evening, the NBA’s first action since March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oni did not play but did join the other players in kneeling for the national anthem. Oni wore Power to the People on the back of his jersey, as all of his teammates opted to replace their last names on their jerseys with a message of social justice.

Oni briefly got playing time toward the end of the Jazz’s second game Saturday, a 110-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Orlando. In his sixth NBA game, Oni pitched in three points, two rebounds, a steal and a block in just under six minutes of action.

Dartmouth men announce Class of 2024

Dartmouth men’s basketball recently announced its Class of 2024 on Twitter:

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – Aug. 1, 2020

Ivy hoops coaches pledge formal support for Black Lives Matter, detail accountability measures

The Ivy League on Friday announced an initiative including all 16 men’s and women’s basketball programs expressing commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Called “Ivy Promise,” the initiative comes with a message from the 16 women’s and men’s basketball head coaches:

We have heard our student-athletes’ and communities’ call to action. The anger, disappointment and hurt felt across our country in recent weeks has been eye-opening and inspired important conversations in our communities. This is how we will stand together to proceed forward on the path of making progress for humanity. This is our promise.The Ivy Promise represents the Ivy League basketball coaches’ commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. While individually our platforms are influential, combined our platforms can be a catalyst for change. We are committed to achieving reform. We will stand against inequality and discrimination until all people are afforded the same opportunities in wages, healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. Together we will stand for justice, educate the people, and support our communities.Our initial action items as a league are as follows:

  • As the Head Coaches of Ivy League Basketball, we will use our status and privilege to be vocal advocates for equality for all.
  • When possible, our programs will buy from local black and minority owned businesses to help uplift our communities economically and decrease the wealth gap.
  • Our coaches and student-athletes will not only participate in All Vote No Play on November 3, but also use our voting power in local and state elections because that is where topics like criminal justice reform begin.
  • We will use our games on MLK Day and during Black History Month in February to avidly celebrate Black history and Black excellence.
  • Each Ivy League basketball team will donate to and volunteer with the local organizations that are working to address the specific needs of our community.

This is just the beginning.

Read moreIvy hoops coaches pledge formal support for Black Lives Matter, detail accountability measures

How Princeton women’s basketball clawed its way to the top of the Ivy League

The 2019-20 Princeton women’s basketball team’s campaign ended all too quickly due to COVID-19, but not before demonstrating the enduring strength of the program under a new coaching staff. (Princeton Athletics)

The 2019-20 Princeton women’s basketball team was by no means a “one-hit wonder.”

It was the product of a process begun more than a dozen years ago. Successful coaches do more than win games; they build a program, an organization that can produce highly competitive teams year after year. Successful programs are designed to withstand graduations, injuries, and the inevitable clash of egos and personalities in groups of a dozen or more highly competitive and talented individuals. To achieve success in college basketball over time is incredibly difficult. To achieve credibility on the national scene with a mid-major program and no athletic scholarships defies belief. Princeton has done that.

In 1970, the 225th year of Princeton’s existence, school administrators decided to adopt the revolutionary idea of coeducation, not coincidentally, I have always believed, in the year following my graduation. One year later, varsity basketball was introduced as a women’s intercollegiate sport. The Tigers enjoyed early success, winning the first four Ivy titles following the launching of a women’s postseason tournament in 1975. (The women played a postseason tournament until 1982. In 2017, the present tournament format was adopted. The top four men’s and women’s teams compete at the same site over the same weekend to determine the league’s NCAA representatives.)

Read moreHow Princeton women’s basketball clawed its way to the top of the Ivy League

Ivy hoops figures continue to speak out against racial injustice and killings of black people

The Ivy hoops community has continued to protest against the injustice that black people face in America in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis officer while three other officers stood last Monday.

Harvard men’s hoops 2018 grad Chris Egi was the subject of a SportsNet feature Tuesday highlighting the Markham, Ontario native’s drive to launch the No More Names campaign, a fundraising and awareness building organization aiming for criminal injustice and police brutality.

Read moreIvy hoops figures continue to speak out against racial injustice and killings of black people

Ivy hoops roundup – May 27, 2020

Cornell University has announced several 2020-21 calendar options given the threat of COVID-19, though nothing has been decided and the university said the likely course of action will be a mix of these options:

Read moreIvy hoops roundup – May 27, 2020

Cornell, Harvard, Penn and Princeton school spirit masks to benefit Boston Children’s Hospital

In February, former Penn student-athlete and Ivy Hoops Online contributor Erica Denhoff launched an Etsy shop with items such as hair bows, hand-knit scarves and mascot photos she’d taken in an effort to help increase school spirit for the Ivies.

Now Erica, who wrote about the importance of school spirit for IHO back in February, has updated the Etsy shop with Cornell, Harvard and Penn face masks with a critically important beneficiary in mind. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Boston Children’s Hospital, where she is a clinical research manager. If you’re so inclined, please buy a mask. The photos below are from Erica’s Etsy shop.

This post was updated to note that Dartmouth and Princeton face cloths are now available and Cornell face cloths are sold out.