The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: Brooks departs Cortland for Buffalo + Thiel, Brooklyn tab next HCs + NVU-Johnson is with us…for at least 3 more years

April 25, 2023

By Riley Zayas (@ZayasRiley on Twitter)

Welcome back to another week! Writing this up as three head coaching moves within the D3 WBB world have been made over the last several days. One such move just broke an hour ago, so I’ll lead off with that.

Out of the University of Buffalo this morning, it was announced that the new coaching staff had been finalized. Rounding out the staff? Cortland head coach Jacey Brooks, who most recently led her squad to the program’s first SUNYAC championship since 2010.

Brooks will join D1 Buffalo as the associate head coach, and this move is up there with some of the biggest in the D3 WBB coaching carousel this offseason. In fact, in some respects, it could be considered the biggest. Brooks elevated the Cortland program to new heights in her five years at the helm, as a 79-32 record with three NCAA Tournament appearances speaks for itself.

In three of her four seasons as head coach (2020-21 was cancelled entirely), the Red Dragons tallied 20 or more wins, finishing this past year with a 24-5 mark. Simply put, Brooks certainly checks the boxes in terms of on-court success. D1 experience? She has plenty of that, too. After playing at Buffalo State College, the first 11 years of her coaching career were spent at the D1 level, at Bowling Green, Canisius, and St. Bonaventure.

It is great to see D3 head coaches being recognized for their efforts and success, earning the chance to move up to the D1 level, especially as an associate head coach. Brooks obviously knows the local area well when it comes to recruiting, both with her work at Cortland and Canisius. It will be an uphill battle at Buffalo, as the Bulls have seen several departures to the transfer portal over the last several weeks, so having a recruiter on staff like Brooks is going to be massively important. Head coach Becky Burke is heading into her second year leading the program in 2023-24.

“I am thrilled that Jacey will be joining our staff here at Buffalo,” said Burke in a press release. “She brings a wealth of knowledge that will add tremendous value. She is an incredible person that builds genuine relationships and takes pride in coaching and loving her players. Jacey recruits at a very high level, has pride for Western New York and knows what UB women’s basketball stands for. I’m so excited to work with her, learn from her, and continue to elevate this program together.”

In a coaching change announced last night, Brooklyn has named its next head coach after the announcement last week that longtime program architect Alex Lang has stepped down. I said this job could be an internal hire, and that is exactly what happened.

Megan Campbell, an assistant on the Brooklyn staff for the last two years, has been promoted to head coach.

“Meg was a vital part of our staff these past two seasons, and our players are excited to play for her,” Lang, Brooklyn’s associate AD, said in a press release. “Meg is a great person, was a great player and assistant coach, and I am confident she will be a tremendous head coach.”

It helps that Campbell is an alum of the program. She knows what it takes to build champions within that environment, and has seen the way things were run by Lang over the last several years. Obviously, she will have her own coaching style and recruiting approach, but it helps to have someone who is not walking into a completely new situation. And as an assistant coach the last two years, she has worked with most of the roster (and recruited some of them too) so retention shouldn’t be an issue for Brooklyn.

As I wrote last week, Brooklyn has been at the front and center of the CUNYAC WBB conversation for the last several years under Lang’s leadership. Campbell has big shoes to fill, but she is also well-prepared for the job.

Thiel also named its next head coach on Friday of last week, and not surprisingly, they also hired an alum. An accomplished alum at that.

Jessica Vormelker will replace Rob Clune, and comes to Thiel after two years as an assistant at Allegheny. Prior to that, she served as a GA at Waynesburg for two years. And before that? She was starring on the court for Thiel, where she finished her four-year career in 2019, ranking third all-time in program history in points scored (1,681).

She is likely to be one of, if not the, youngest head coaches in D3 WBB this next year. But much like Campbell at Brooklyn, hiring an alum makes sense. She is well-known within the Thiel community, has support from alumni, and the current players look up to her because she is easily one of the three best players to have every come through the program.

Looking to build on a 3-22 record in 2022-23, Vormelker brings back almost the entire roster, with just three seniors having been listed on the roster this past season. Most were freshmen and sophomores, which is encouraging as they try to get back to being competitive within the PAC.

In university news, we have learned that D3 Northern Vermont-Johnson, a NAC program, will remain at the D3 level for at least the next three years. Previously, it was announced that, due to the cutting of funds and lack of students, NVU-Johnson would move to the USCAA. For the time being, that move will not happen, as those in charge of the Vermont State University system figure out the next steps for their schools. More on that here:

That’s all for now. Hope everyone is having a great week. Congratulations to Jacey Brooks, Megan Campbell, and Jessica Vormelker! Wishing them all the best as they begin new coaching jobs. As always reach out with any feedback, thoughts, questions, etc. Always happy to talk D3 WBB!


The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: Thoughts on UMHB’s hire, Carthage’s coaching change announcement, and 2 new open head coaching jobs

By Riley Zayas, @ ZayasRiley

April 18, 2023

Checking back in on this Tuesday morning! April is more than half over and the summer weather is certainly upon us (at least down here in Texas!). Hope everyone had a great weekend.

In Friday’s article, I mentioned towards the very bottom that a major development happened in the UMHB head coaching search. While I do admit that I am (slightly) biased towards Region 10 and pay especially close attention to the ASC as a beat writer covering UMHB, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that besides Loras, Belton was home to the next biggest open D3 WBB job this offseason. After all, this was a team that cracked the Top 10 in Week 2 of the poll this past season and had fairly high expectations entering the year with a solid non-conference slate that included Trinity (TX), Puget Sound, Emory, and UC-Santa Cruz.

Of course we know how it turned out. The Cru failed to reach the ASC Tournament final, and never made it to the Pool C selection table. Drama clouded the final weeks of the season with the dismissal of head coach Mark Morefield, and led us to the point where the job was open until early last week.

As both I and Cory Hogue of Dave Campbell’s Texas Basketball reported, Katie Novak has been tabbed as the program’s next head coach, returning to Texas after a one-year stint at D-II Hawai’i Pacific.

Personally, I really like this hire. I think she fits the university well in terms of her background in the ASC (more on that in a second) and leadership ability. HPU had a tough situation with its head coach previous to Novak, and ended up dismissing him due to alleged mistreatment of players (along the lines of verbal and mental abuse). She came in, re-recruited a good percentage of the players in the program, and brought with her a transfer center in Abby Spurgin, who ended up becoming the PacWest Conference Player of the Year.

Previously, she head coached Sul Ross State, doing very well despite enormous recruiting challenges (for those who don’t know, SRSU might be the most remote school in D3, especially with Finlandia shutting down). She left after five seasons as the program’s all-time leader in wins, and led the Lobos to new heights.

Looking forward to seeing what Novak can build in Belton. With resources available, a good recruiting base, and playing in a competitive, yet wide-open league, I think we could see UMHB competing for the ASC title in year one.

A few additional open head coaching positions came to my attention over the weekend.

Another GNAC job is open, as Colby Sawyer College no longer has a head coach listed on its website. Devon Quattrocchi was at the helm of that program since May 2020, but the Chargers went a combined 12-36 in the program’s two seasons under her direction (they did not play at all in 2020-21).

Pfeiffer did not make any kind of announcement, but the job was posted on on Saturday. Tooey Loy led the program for several years, though I was unable to get an official number from the website. But the bottom line is that the program’s last winning season came in 2017-18, when they went 20-5. Since then, success was not plentiful, with the Falcons going 6-17 overall, 4-12 in the USA South this past year.

There are now 16 head coaching jobs in D3 women’s basketball with a replacement having not yet been announced. The GNAC now has two jobs open (Elms, Colby Sawyer) and the USA South has two open (William Peace, Pfeiffer).

I mentioned it at the end of the Friday post, but will mention it again. I’m working to highlight as many D3 women’s basketball players who are also playing another sport at the college level. My plan is to put it out by Thursday. So if you know of a D3 WBB also playing another varsity sport be sure to let me know. Shoot me an email at

Carthage officially announced the dismissal of Tim Bernero and “has begun” a “national search” for its next head coach. Will be interested to see who takes that position, as the CCIW is a great league to be in right now.

The team went 9-17 in the CCIW this past year, but regardless, let’s just say it was one of the more controversial pieces of coaching news so far this offseason. Bernero had been with the program for 20 seasons, was the school’s all-time wins leader coach, and had a record of 311-208.

I get that firings are part of coaching. But I was not a fan of this move. For Bernero being someone who contributed to a program for so long, put together several competitive seasons in the CCIW, and overall represented Carthage well, I was very surprised when I heard about this one. I wasn’t the only one. There were quite a few frustrated individuals who voiced their opinions in opposition to it.

But what disturbs me even more is that Carthage waited SIX weeks to announce it. It took Bernero going on Twitter to confirm previous reports that he was no longer with the school. That’s not the way it should go. Maybe I’m not aware of the full situation, and I know there was an AD change, but I’ve always been taught in journalism that if you’re going to write something, or say something, that could be considered controversial, you also need to stand behind that. I see it as the same thing here. Carthage made a controversial decision to let Bernero go, but then waited until yesterday to make any kind of announcement. They did not stand behind their decision initially, and perhaps that is because it was a controversial one. UMHB never made any public announcement in regards to the departure of Mark Morefield either, though that story did receive more press.

Regardless, I just don’t like schools treating coaches this way, especially coaches who have been around for as long as Bernero had. Make a public statement, announce the coaching change, and move on. But don’t try to hide it.

Have a great day! If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe for free to The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops!


The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: 2 head coaching hires + BSC survives…for now

Good morning and welcome to another week of the offseason! Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend. He is Risen!

Getting to another D3 WBB update…there was some notable news in the world of coaching towards the end of last week. I’m also anticipating a few more head coaching hires to be made in the coming week, though time will tell. Several jobs remain open, the most notable being the head coaching positions at Loras and Mary Hardin-Baylor.

The first head coaching hire came in the Pacific Northwest, when George Fox University hired an alum in Lauren Howard to lead the program. Howard, who played for the Northwest Conference program from 2013-2015, was a key cog in the Bruins’ run to the D-III national title game in 2014-15, starting all 33 games on a team that went 32-1.

With that background, this hire makes sense. This is a program that could be competitive in what is a somewhat wide-open league and went 11-14, 8-8 (NWC) this past season. I don’t see this being a major rebuild for Howard, and she will have a great recruiting base there in the western part of Oregon. Plus, as previously mentioned, she has seen this program at its peak and knows what it takes at this school specifically to reach that point. That is very valuable. I really like this hire.

Howard comes back to George Fox from D-I Portland, where she was the Director of Basketball Operations. Last season, Portland reached the NCAA Tourney for the first time in 26 years. Pretty impressive stuff. Howard was a high school head coach prior to that, so she has both collegiate coaching experience and high school head coaching experience. Now it’s about combining those two things.

The second head coaching hire of the week came in the WIAC, where Shelby Lyman was promoted to head coach at UW-River Falls after serving as the interim for the entirety of the past season. A four-year member of the coaching staff at UWRF, Lymna was promoted to the interim HC job from her assistant coaching role following the departure of former head coach Blake DuDonis, who took an assistant coaching role at D-I Fairfield. UWRF fought hard within a very deep conference this past season, posting a 14-11 record and 4-10 mark in WIAC play. Amongst the highlights of the 2022-23 campaign, UWRF took down UW-Whitewater and UW-Eau Claire, both NCAA Tournament teams.

“I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to lead this program and grateful for the support and belief that Crystal Lanning and Kellen Wells-Mangold have in myself and our staff,” Lyman said in a UWRF press release. “I love River Falls, I love being able to work with our incredible student-athletes day in and day out and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Falcon women’s basketball.”

UWRF had four seniors on its roster this past season, including two of the three who started all 25 games for the Falcons. However, both Julia Seidel and Annie Feine, who started 15+ games for UWRF, are likely to return for the upcoming season. There is the possibility that some or all of the four seniors will return, including Macy Nilsen, who has played four collegiate seasons and was named All-WIAC last month.

Well, Birmingham-Southern College (out of the Southern Athletic Association) will survive a little bit longer, per an announcement by the college’s Board of Trustees on Thursday of last week. It was decision day for the institution, located in Birmingham, Ala., as students, faculty, and staff were allowed into a meeting announcing the future of the university.

If BSC was unable to pull together ample funding, it would have been forced to close its doors following the spring, which would have been a travesty, considering their athletics have been decently good in recent years, led by its baseball team, ranked #1 in the nation. However, the board announced it received $46M from private donors. While this does not mean the school is safe for the next decade, it does give the school more time to reach its goal of a $200M endowment. The fundraising process will continue, but we will have BSC around for at least another year.

The WBB program was decent in the SAA this season, known for its fast-paced style of play and 95.7 points per game, which ranked No. 1 nationally. The team posted a 13-13 record with a 6-8 mark in SAA play, under 7th-year head coach Mike Ricks. Recruiting has likely been difficult, as the financial situation was public dating back to December.

Hopefully Thursday’s news will allow Ricks and his staff to bring in a quality freshman class. Although, the future of BSC is still in doubt, which is still going to make recruiting difficult until the school is on more solid ground.

Scranton scored pretty big on the recruiting front with Rider (D-I) transfer Victoria Toomey, who played in 20+ games for all four years of her time at Rider. She’ll be a grad transfer to head coach Ben O’Brien’s squad, and there’s a connection there, as Toomey played for O’Brien at Dunmore high school. It is not often you see players who started at the D-I level transfer to a D-III, but it does happen on occasion. Toomey not only started but averaged 9.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this past season. At 6’2, she could be a game-changer for Scranton and have the sort of impact Katie Titus had at Rochester this past year. We shall see.

Hope also picked up commitments from Class of 2024 prospects in Leah and Anna Richards. From talking with a couple people, the program they play for at Lansing Catholic is top-level in the state of Michigan (Reigning D-II state champs), and there are some Hope connections there. Brian Morehouse continues to score big with top-level high school players in the western Michigan area, and to get commitments this soon is also fairly impressive.

That’s all I have on this Monday morning. Plan to check in later in the week as I’m willing to bet something notable will come up. Something news-worthy always seems to show up, even as we look into a calendar with six straight months of no games! We shall see. In the meantime, have a great week and as always, feel free to email me at with tips/feedback/thoughts or DM me on Twitter (@ZayasRiley).

The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: Dallas was special indeed

(Writing the first part of this post on Saturday afternoon) Well I didn’t come through with a post from Dallas as promised, but as I have wrapped up my coverage for and gotten back home, I have a few minutes to sit down and try to put all this into words. It was incredible to see the stage that D3 WBB was put on today. It felt high-level, because it truly was high-level, and that was refreshing to see. I get that budget constraints and other factors stand in the way, but man, do I wish more D3 programs would get the chance to experience what Transylvania and CNU experienced, not only today, but this entire week. CNU’s Lauren Fortescue spoke in the postgame press conference about the D-I players at the event treating them as equals, and how much that meant, coming from players who they have watched on TV so many times throughout this year. Those are the types of interactions that this unique championship environment afforded to all of the student-athletes and coaches participating. What happened in Dallas this week is something the players, coaches, and fans from both Transy and CNU will carry into the future.

For me, it was also a very memorable experience. Besides it taking me 15 minutes to find my way to the court (“follow the signs” doesn’t work when there are 15 signs to follow LOL) it was awesome to have the chance to cover such a great game in a large-scale arena. The NCAA treated the media VERY well and the magnitude of the whole thing was very cool. I consider myself lucky to have had the chance to be sitting courtside today, because I had no idea when I got into D3 media three years ago that it would so quickly lead to opportunities like this. God is good.

I wouldn’t have had the chance to cover today’s game without the support of, who allowed me to assist in coverage of the both the men’s final four and the women’s national title game. The passion we all share for #d3hoops is evident, and I’m so glad to be part of this exceptional team.

Another big highlight came in getting to meet so many people who I have connected with via Twitter or Hoopsville or other means of communication over the course of this past season. Gordon Mann and I were side-by-side on press row, and it was a pleasure getting to finally shake hands with him after we’d been on so many Hoopsville Top 25 panels together. Additionally, I was thankful for the chance to connect in person with national committee chair Megan Wilson, who did phenomenal work throughout this entire year and especially throughout this tournament. The entire national committee did an exceptional job and it was great getting the opportunity to meet so many of them over the course of the day. After interviewing Transy WBB HC Juli Fulks multiple times over the phone this year, it was great to have the chance to meet her in person. I really appreciate the support she has given me and our team this season. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Transylvania MBB coach Brian Lane, who is also a huge supporter of the WBB program there. He and I had a good chat and I truly appreciate the passion he brings to Transy WBB. Chip Snively is another one who I’ve gotten to know via Twitter over the last five months and finally got the chance to meet in person today. Such a cool experience…I can’t say it enough.

I’m working on putting together my final Top 25 ballot of the year, and as I walked out of the American Airlines Center, it hit me that the final buzzer of yesterday’s game also marked the final buzzer of the 2022-23 season. It’s been a great year, and I appreciate all who followed along in my national coverage of D-III women’s hoops this season. The encouragement from coaches, fans, administrators, and others was always much appreciated. While it will definitely feel weird without having games to look ahead to for the next six months, I’ll still be here, covering the offseason stories in D3 WBB.

As I sit down to finish this on Sunday, a Twitter debate is playing out. It started with a tweet from a college MBB coach about this “combined championship” thing becoming a yearly occurrence because of the recognition it brought to D2 and D3 basketball. And #d3hoops twitter is now going crazy. Whether traditionalists like it or not, the experience for both CNU and Transy this past week was on a different level. They were validated by playing on the biggest stage in women’s college basketball and did so in front of a large crowd. They walked into the arena on the red carpet. They won’t soon forget all of that. So it begs the question. Why does this have to be a “once in every 13 or 14 years” kind of deal? Why can’t it be something done every three or four years? Why can’t it be the standard? We talk about giving validation to this level of NCAA athletics. This is a fantastic way to do that. I understand there are budgetary constraints, and missed class time, and the question of if it is done for basketball, why couldn’t it be done for every sport. But for anyone who was there yesterday, you know what I mean. Fort Wayne, for the men’s final four, was certainly special. But this took it to another level. Would love to hear from D3 coaches/administrators and get your thoughts on this. Obviously all comments will be kept anonymous, but I just want to hear more viewpoints on this topic. Email is Twitter is: @ZayasRiley…DMs always open.

That’s all I got…turned into a much longer post than I expected, but that’s usually how things go. By the way, if you haven’t already, go check out the postseason recap/deep dive show that Scott Peterson and I did last week. Lots of great insight on some of the more overlooked teams in D3 WBB this year, and some programs to watch out for next season.