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 D3hoops.com 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 WHoopdirt.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Since it happened on Friday afternoon and there’s been no release, I’d like to let folks know I am no longer the women’s basketball coach at Carthage.
— Tim Bernero (@CoachBernero) March 12, 2023
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!