Just two years ago, Bethann Shapiro Ord took over as head coach for the Binghamton women’s basketball team. In that short amount of time, Shapiro Ord managed to bring the team to one of the most successful seasons in its history.
This past season, Shapiro Ord coached her team to a 9-0 start, the second-best start to a season in program history, and led BU to the America East (AE) semifinals for the first time since 2016. She also led BU to a 22-win season, tying the sixth-most in program history, and coached and developed the America East Player of the Year, senior guard Kai Moon. Due to Shapiro Ord’s success in the 2019-20 season, she has been named Pipe Dream’s Coach of the Year.
“The reason we were so successful is because of the players,” Shapiro Ord said. “It takes a little bit for them to get and understand different coaching styles, and I think once they realized what I was about and who I’m about — and it’s about them and building relationships with them and showing them that if you stick to the process and believe in what our goals are and what our vision is, then the sky’s the limit.”
Shapiro Ord comes from a long line of coaches, as both of her parents were coaches. Her father was a men’s basketball coach and an athletics director, and her mother was a men’s and women’s tennis coach and a cheerleading coach. In her undergraduate years, Shaprio Ord was a three-year starting point guard for UMBC, and in her first year out of college, Shapiro Ord took an assistant coaching job with Nazareth College.
“When I finished playing ball at UMBC Maryland I wasn’t able to play at the next level, pro, and to stay with basketball, something I love so much, the next best thing is to coach,” Shapiro Ord said.
Shapiro Ord held nine coaching jobs, primarily as an assistant, before coming to BU after serving as the head coach at Weber State University. She said she chose to come to Binghamton because of athletics director Patrick Elliott.
“First and foremost, my athletics director is the best,” Shapiro Ord said. “He’s one of the top in the country and that’s why I’m here. He’s the one that got me to come here.”
The support that Shapiro Ord said she has received at BU has been unmatched. Since coming to BU, she stated that her experience has been good because she has been welcomed by the University, the community and the media. In order to show her appreciation, Shapiro Ord has been delivering thank-you notes to community members who attended several of this season’s games.
Since Shapiro Ord has been with the Bearcats, she has 34 wins under her belt, including this season’s quarterfinal victory against UNH and the win against Albany, which was the first time in nine years that BU won against the Great Danes.
“I can’t see far away,” Shapiro Ord said. “So the last two minutes of the [Albany] game, when I knew we had it and there was no way they were coming back, I actually put my glasses on so I could see once the buzzer went off. I was looking around to see the fans, how happy they were. I just wanted to enjoy it. I wanted to take it all in for our kids too.”
Although Shapiro Ord has had many moments to be proud of, she said that keeping the bonds with her former players and seeing who and what they become after their basketball careers are what make her coaching job fulfilling.
“My proudest moments as a coach are when I hear from my former players,” Shapiro Ord said. “They just got married, they got a new job, they just became a head coach or just became a doctor or they graduated from getting their master’s or having a baby or having a family … just seeing how well my kids are doing once they’re done with basketball.”
Shapiro Ord propelled the Bearcats to new heights this season but does not take credit for all of the team’s success. Instead, she pointed to the chemistry between the players and the coaching staff as the ultimate reason for the successful season.
“I treat my staff, my program, my players like family,” Shapiro Ord said. “You work with each other, you’re there for each other, you have great chemistry. You’re in battle, but you’re still there for each other.”