Nearly a month after receiving news that then-women’s basketball head coach Linda Cimino had accepted a head coaching job at St. Francis, the athletics department announced the hiring of Bethann Shapiro Ord as the new head coach on June 15. Shapiro Ord, who most recently was manning the sidelines for Weber State for the past seven years, became the 14th head coach for the Binghamton women’s basketball program.
“She comes with a tremendous amount of experience and success both as a head coach and assistant coach at the Division I level,” said Binghamton University Director of Athletics Patrick Elliot, per bubearcats.com. “Bethann is an outstanding recruiter and cares deeply about the student-athletes that she coaches. We are confident she will do an excellent job in leading our women’s basketball program.”
Similar to Cimino’s revitalization of the Binghamton program, Shapiro Ord has had comparable success with the Wildcats. Over her previous three seasons, Weber State posted 57 victories, reached the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) twice and captured the highest win total in Wildcats history in the 2015-16 season. In the three years before Shapiro Ord arrived in 2011, Weber State did not win more than 10 games.
Although the Wildcats struggled mightily early in her head coaching career (9-78 over her first three seasons), Shapiro Ord certainly developed a culture change in large part due to her extensive experience as an assistant coach at Louisville, Colorado, Tulsa, Dayton, Auburn, Pittsburgh, Wagner and Nazareth. Throughout her four years coaching under Jeff Walz, Louisville advanced to the Sweet 16 three times and the 2009 national championship game.
In addition to her success in the Big Dance, Shapiro Ord helped coach current WNBA player Angel McCoughtry. The Louisville product was the top overall selection in 2009 and went on to become a two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time WNBA scoring champion and a four-time WNBA All-Star.
“Coach Bethann Shapiro Ord was a major part of me becoming an All-American athlete and Olympian,” McCoughtry said. “She was not just a coach but a mentor. I think she will help grow the program at Binghamton because she has done that everywhere she has gone. She is from New York, so I know she will be excited to grab the best talent in the New York area and up and down the East Coast.”
Even though Shapiro Ord appears to have the resume necessary to build off the success installed by Cimino, she absolutely has big shoes to fill. Cimino played an integral role in guiding the Bearcats to a 20-12 record this past season while qualifying for the WBI for the first time in program history.
“The community support and academic excellence are outstanding,” Shapiro Ord said per bubearcats.com. “I look forward to continuing to build upon the success of this program and take it to new heights.”
Unlike Cimino, however, Shapiro Ord will not have the luxury of coaching former Binghamton stars Imani Watkins and Alyssa James. Both of these recently graduated seniors were instrumental in BU’s previous postseason berth and are credited primarily with the program’s drastic turnaround.
Despite the absence of arguably the top two players in BU’s program history, Shapiro Ord will still have a young core highlighted by junior guard Kai Moon. As the new face of the team, Moon will seek to build off a prolific sophomore campaign in which she was second on the team and No. 14 in the America East in scoring, started in 31 games and was named third-team all-conference.
For a program that has taken many steps forward over the past several years, BU’s fanbase will assuredly hope that Shapiro Ord will quickly become acquainted with her new team and coaching staff in a manner that reflects her previous three seasons at Weber State and not her first few.