Emily Garner chosen as new Cornell women’s basketball head coach

Emily Garner, who went 124-55 in eight seasons at Trinity College, hopes to bring the same level of success to Cornell. (photo: Trinity College Athletics)

After a month-long search, Cornell athletic director Nicki Moore announced the hiring of Emily Garner as the new women’s basketball head coach on Thursday afternoon.

Garner, who becomes the eighth head coach in Big Red history, arrives in Ithaca after leading Trinity College to a 124-55 record over the last eight seasons, including a 96-35 mark over the last five years.

The Bantams made it to the Division III NCAA Tournament each of the last two seasons and Garner led Trinity to the program’s first-ever New England Small Athletic Conference regular season title and Elite Eight appearance in 2022-23.

The 2021-22 NESCAC Coach of the Year started her collegiate basketball career at Lafayette College, where she was a three-year starter for the Leopards. A year after her 2009 graduation, Garner spent two years as a graduate assistant at LIU-Brooklyn, before returning to the Patriot League as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Army West Point. During her time with the Black Knights, she helped the team compile a four-year record of 99-28 with two NCAA Tournament and two WNIT appearances. 

“In Emily, I believe we’ve found a coach who not only cares deeply about the student-athlete experience but has also demonstrated the ability to elevate the competitive success of teams at academically rigorous institutions,” Moore told Cornell Athletics. “From her experiences at winning programs as an assistant coach to her playing experience at Lafayette, and especially having developed as a head coach for eight years, Emily has all the skills and owns the intangibles necessary to elevate Big Red basketball.”

Garner takes over a Cornell team that finished 7-19 overall in 2023-24 and tied for seventh in the Ivy League at 1-13.

The Big Red’s offense has struggled over the last several years, finding its rating in the bottom 21% of the nation in five of the last six seasons, per Her Hoops Stats, and the bottom 10% in each of the last three years.

For a team that has been known for its defense under 21-year former head coach Dayna Smith, Cornell’s rating went from top 11% in 2018-19, the year the Big Red made its only appearance in the Ivy Tournament, to a 12-year low of bottom 20% in 2023- 24.

With a scoring defense that has been in the top 40 nationally over the last three seasons and an offense which has been in the top 30 in fewest turnovers in the last two years, Garner hopes to bring that same level of discipline to East Hill.

Garner’s hiring marks the third time a NESCAC coach has been hired to lead an Ancient Eight women’s team since 2019. Princeton’s Carla Berube arrived from Tufts, taking the conference’s premier team to even greater heights over the last five years. On the other end of the spectrum, Adrienne Shibles arrived at Dartmouth in the spring of 2021, following a successful tenure at Bowdoin, and lasted only two years in Hanover.

The Big Red faithful hope that Garner can bring her winning ways from Trinity and more closely follow the Berube path to become a consistent upper division team and capture the program’s first Ivy League championship since 2007-08. 

1 thought on “Emily Garner chosen as new Cornell women’s basketball head coach”

  1. It is “the Berube path” And why not? Good luck to Coach Garner. Welcome to the Ancient 8

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