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: https://vtdigger.org/2023/04/24/vermont-state-university-reverses-course-on-libraries-athletics/
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!