Claremont, Calif. (December 23, 2015)—After an extensive 38-year coaching career, Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Basketball Coach Kathy Connell will retire at the end of the 2015-16 season, the Pomona-Pitzer Athletics and Physical Education Department announced today.
Connell, who will have coached for 20 years at Pomona-Pitzer at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, led the Sagehens to three conference championships during her tenure.
“Kathy has had an incredible career as a coach and educator at Pomona-Pitzer Athletics,” said Director of Athletics Lesley Irvine. “We look forward to celebrating and highlighting Kathy’s tenure during the final season and want to thank her for her leadership and commitment over the last 20 years.”
Connell joined the Pomona-Pitzer program in fall 1996 and had an immediate impact, tallying a 53-23 overall record in her first three seasons, including two SCIAC titles and a high of 19 wins in the 1996-97 campaign, when the Sagehens participated in the NCAA Division III Tournament. She added a third SCIAC Championship in 2002, with a 54-51 overtime win over Occidental College in the regular season finale to earn another NCAA bid.
At Pomona-Pitzer, Connell compiled a 370-561 (.397) overall record. During the 2014-15 season, the team went 171-296 (.366) and earned a 100-144 (.410) record in the SCIAC. In addition, Connell has coached two SCIAC Players of the Year, and three SCIAC Baldwin Award winners, plus numerous All- Conference players.
Before coming to Pomona-Pitzer, Connell coached at Smith College in Massachusetts from 1978-80 and at Division I Colgate from 1981-92. She came west in 1992 and coached at Occidental until 1996.
“Professor Connell embodies the many qualities of a true physical educator and coach,” said Associate Director of Athletics Lisa Beckett. “Over her nearly 20-year tenure, Kathy has served as a valuable mentor to the students in her classes and on her basketball teams. Her professionalism, kind nature and willingness to give of herself have made her a genuine asset to the students and a valued and respected colleague to her peers.”
Connell received her EdD in educational leadership from the University of La Verne in 2004. She graduated with a physical education degree in 1975 from Springfield College, where she also earned her MS in administration and played two years of collegiate volleyball. Prior to Springfield, she spent two years at Duchess Community College, where she played both volleyball and basketball.
“It doesn’t seem like it has been 40 years since I coached my first game,” Connell said. “Apparently, time does fly when you are having fun.
“I have been blessed to have chosen a path that provided me with the opportunity to work with some wonderful players, students, coaches and colleagues. These people have taught me valuable life lessons which made me a better person.”
A national search for Connell’s replacement will commence at the end of the 2015-16 winter season.