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.”
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.
The two-time defending regular and postseason Ivy champion Princeton women’s team has announced its 2019-20 schedule, which features a non-conference schedule with two trips to the midwest and six games against teams that made the postseason in 2019.
In November, the Tigers will travel to the state of Iowa, the home of junior Carlie Littlefield, to take on Iowa State and Iowa. A month later, they will visit the Show-Me State to face Missouri and St. Louis for Gateway City native and senior co-captain Taylor Baur.
Over the course of the pre-Ivy schedule, the Orange & Black will face Rider, Seton Hall, and Hartford from last year’s WNIT, as well as NCAA qualifiers Iowa, Iowa State and Missouri. The Tigers will also welcome Penn State to Jadwin Gymnasium, looking to avenge last year’s 79-71 overtime defeat.
Even with last week’s big news (and news, and news) around former Penn men’s head coach Jerome Allen and the probable extension for current Brown men’s head coach Mike Martin, the Ancient Eight continues its many off-season story lines.
Carla Berube has picked three staff members at Princeton, hiring Lauren Battista, Dalia Eshe and Lauren Dillon as assistant coaches. Two previously coached under her at Tufts.
Battista has previous experience as an assistant at Tufts for the 2018-2019 season, where she worked with Berube, as well as three years as a graduate assistant at Boston College. She played four years a Bentley College and was named the national Division II Player of the Year in her 2013-2014 senior year.
Eshe has been as assistant coach at La Salle from 2016-2019 and East Carolina from 2014-2016. Prior to that, she spent the 2013-2014 season as Director of Basketball Operations for Loyola, Maryland. Before entering the coaching ranks, the 2006 Florida graduate and committed vegan, was drafted by the Seattle Storm in the second round of the WNBA Draft. She was in the training camps for Seattle, Washington and Atlanta in the WNBA, but played professionally in Turkey, Russia, Romania, Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany and Ecuador between 2006 and 2013.
Dillon was an assistant under Berube last year at Tufts, where Dillon played the previous four years before graduating in 2018. Dillon was a two-year captain, NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and earned a First-Team All-League selection as a senior.
The previous Princeton staff consisted of Carrie Moore, Addie Micir and Cinnamon Lister. Moore went to North Carolina with former Tigers coach Courtney Banghart, Micir became the associate head coach for Lehigh and Lister moved to UC Irvine.
Addie Micir is headed for Lehigh, which announced Wednesday that Micir is leaving Princeton to join the Mountain Hawks’ coaching staff as an associate head coach. Micir was an assistant under Courtney Banghart at Princeton last season following five seasons as an assistant at Dartmouth. Micir was 2011 Ivy Player of the Year at Princeton, earning her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Princeton in 2011 and her master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth in 2018. Micir’s departure from Princeton was announced two days after new Princeton head coach Carla Berube’s introductory press conference. Berube will have to hire an all new assistant coaching staff after the recent departures of assistant coach Carrie Moore and director of basketball operations Jessica Imhof with Banghart to North Carolina and assistant coach Cinnamon Lister to UC Irvine.
Brown’s Mike Martin will be joining USA Basketball as an assistant coach for the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru from July 31 through August 4. Martin, the 2019 Ivy League Coach of the Year, and Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard will work under the head coaching leadership of Providence College’s Ed Cooley.
The team will practice at the Ruane Development Center on the Providence College campus from July 21 through July 26 before they head off to Peru. The US will be in Pool A against the Virgin Islands on July 31, followed by games against Venezuela on August 1 and Puerto Rico on August 2. The medal round play will be held on August 3-4.
Bella Alarie, the 2017 and 2018 Ivy League Player of the Year, will be a part of USA Basketball’s Pan American team on the women’s side. While she’s waiting for that tournament, she continues her work on USA Basketball’s 3×3 team. This past weekend, her team came in third place in the 3×3 event in Turin, Italy. They went 2-1 in group play, defeating the Czech Republic and Canada, but losing to France. The Stars & Stripes defeating Mongolia in the quarterfinals before losing to the hosts, 16-12.
After two tournaments, Alarie is sixth in scoring with 35 points, and her team finds themselves in second place overall with 115 points, 35 points behind France. The US will next head to Poitiers, France (July 5-6), Ekaterinburg, Russia (July 9-10) and Lignano, Italy (July 13-14).
Although Princeton Athletics named Carla Berube as the Tigers’ new coach all the way back on May 29, it wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that Princeton’s Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan formally introduced new head coach Berube to the Tigers community and media.
Berube, a national champion with UConn in 1995, said she called her college coach, Geno Auriemma, immediately after the Tigers’ job was posted.
“That’s perfect,” said the Hall of Famer. “You’re ready for it.” He then reached out to Marcoux Samaan that same day to offer his support for his former point guard.
At the end of April, Courtney Banghart left Princeton to take the open position at North Carolina. Over her 12 years at Princeton’s helm, she built the Tigers program into a conference power with national relevance. In order to continue the forward progress of the program, the AD knew that this was a very important hire.
Princeton’s two-time reigning Ivy Player of the Year Bella Alarie has found out who her draw for the start of the Pan American Games will be as a member of the United States Pan American Games Team.
FIBA announced Thursday that the USA will play at the 2019 Pan American Games women’s basketball competition in preliminary round Group B, along with Argentina, Colombia and U.S. Virgin Islands. Playing in preliminary round Group A will be Brazil, Canada, Paraguay and Puerto Rico.
The 2019 Pan American Games women’s basketball competition will take place August 6-10 at the Coliseo Eduardo Dibo in Lima, Peru, but tip-off times, the order of games and competition format are yet to be determined.
Also still to be determined is who Princeton’s next head coach will be, even as the list of sensible possibilities gets smaller while the coaching staff for Princeton’s last head coach gets bigger.
Courtney Banghart made her first assistant coaching decision on Tuesday, bringing former Princeton assistant coach Carrie Moore to Chapel Hill. In addition to being an assistant at North Carolina, Moore will also assume the role of recruiting coordinator. She worked for Banghart as the Tigers’ Director of Basketball Operations from 2008 – 2010 and an assistant from 2016-2019. From 2010-2015, Moore served as an assistant at Creighton.
“She has been a critical teammate with all parts of the Princeton program, and brings talent, compassion, enthusiasm, hard work, knowledge, and authentic care for others to her everyday,” Banghart told North Carolina Athletics. “She is a difference maker and simply put, I’m better when having her by my side.”