|Title:||Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach|
|College:||Southern California '77|
|Years at Yale:||9th Season|
With head coaching credentials that include stops at women’s basketball powers in the Pac-12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference, Chris Gobrecht came to Yale in 2005 with a reputation for turning programs around. During her first eight seasons as the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball, Gobrecht has restored Yale's status as one of the premier women's basketball programs in the Ivy League.
With Gobrecht at the helm, Yale's resurgence as a contender for the Ivy League championship has continued to intensify over the last four seasons. Gobrecht coached the Bulldogs to 56 wins in the last four seasons, the second-most wins in a four-year stretch since Yale's Class of 1980 won a total of 57 games. Under Gobrecht's leadership, Yale also recorded the most Ivy League wins in a four-year span with 34 Ivy victories over the last four seasons.
The ninth coach in the 40-year history of Yale women's basketball, Gobrecht enters the 2013-14 season, her ninth season at Yale and 34th season as a head coach (all at the Division I level), with an overall career record of 516-443 (.538), ranking her 23rd among active coaches in career Division I victories. Gobrecht has more career Division I victories than any other active basketball coach in the Ivy League, men or women.
“I believe Yale is one of the finest institutions in the world, and to be involved with this university is a privilege,” Gobrecht said upon her arrival in New Haven. “I think my career has been leading up to this.”
During her tenure at Yale, Gobrecht has coached 26 players that earned Ivy League postseason awards, including two Ivy League Rookies of the Year (Sarah Halejian, 2011-12; Melissa Colborne, 2006-07), five All-Ivy First Team honorees (Halejian, 2012-13; Megan Vasquez, 2011-12 & 2010-11; Colborne, 2007-08; Erica Davis, 2006-07), three All-Ivy Second Team honorees (Colborne, 08-09; Michelle Cashen, 09-10, Mady Gobrecht, 10-11), six All-Ivy Honorable Mention players (Vasquez, 2012-13; Janna Graf, 2012-13; Chinenye Okafor, 05-06 & 06-07; Cashen, 10-11 & 11-12), five All-Ivy Rookie Team players (Graf, 10-11; Vasquez, 09-10; Cashen, 08-09; Lindsay Williams, 07-08; Colborne 06-07) and six Ivy League Academic Team honorees (Cashen, 11-12; Cashen, 10-11; Haywood Wright, 09-10; Jamie Van Horne, 08-09; Stephanie Marciano, 07-08; Davis, 06-07). Prior to Gobrecht’s arrival in the Elm City, a Bulldog player had not earned All-Ivy League First Team accolades since Katy Grubbs following the 1997-98 campaign.
Gobrecht also coached two players who competed on the international level in Megan Vasquez, who was a part of Puerto Rico's attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, and Janna Graf, who led Germany's U-20 squad to a second-place finish in the European Championships. Gobrecht's tenure also included Yale's 15th, 16th and 17th 1,000-point scorers in the program's history in Vasquez, Davis and Colborne.
In 2012-13, the 40th season in the history of women's basketball at Yale, Gobrecht Yale to a 13-15 overall finish and an 8-6 fourth-place finish in Ivy League play. The season saw Yale finish third in the Ivy League in scoring (64.3 ppg.) and first in the Ivy League in 3-pointers made per game (7.0) and 3-point field goal defense (.252, 87-for-345). Yale was the only Ivy League team to allow fewer than 100 3-pointers. The season also included a historic night for sophomore guard Sarah Halejian, who scored a career-high 29 points on 12-of-15 shooting in the 69-66 loss at Harvard on Feb. 23, 2013, including a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range. The 29 points, 12 made field goals and 80.0 field-goal percentage are all the second-highest marks in Yale's record books.
The Bulldogs enjoyed their most successful season under Gobrecht's leadership in 2011-12, finishing with a 16-12 record and an 8-6 mark in Ivy League play in a season that included Yale's first-ever meeting with the nation's top-ranked team (No. 1 Baylor, Nov. 22, 2011). It was their winningest season since a 16-10 finish in 1993-94 and the third straight season with at least eight Ivy League victories. The season included several milestones, including Gobrecht's 500th career victory and the 1,000th career point for Vasquez, both of which happened on Feb. 10, 2012, against Cornell. Gobrecht also saw Halejian win six Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards during the season, tying a Yale record held by Melissa Colborne (2007) and Katy Grubbs (1996) for the most Rookie of the Week awards by a Yale player in a single season. Yale finished the season second in the Ivy League in scoring (65.6 points per game) and led the Ivy League in assists (13.9 assists per game), turnover margin (+4.36), and 3-pointers per game (6.4).
In 2010-11, Gobrecht guided the Bulldogs to their first-ever appearance in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) to cap off a successful season. The Bulldogs finished with a 14-15 overall record, which, until 2011-12, was Yale's highest win total since the 2001-02 season (14-13). Gobrecht coached the Bulldogs to the biggest win in program history, a 91-85 win over then-No. 14 Florida State. It was Yale's first win over a nationally ranked opponent in the program's 38-year history. She followed that historic victory by guiding the Bulldogs to a 10-4 finish in Ivy League play, which matched the most wins for Yale in League play (10-4, 1988-89). The 2010-11 Ivy League season included Yale's first sweep of Harvard since the 1993-94 season, which helped the Bulldogs finish in second place in the Ivy League standings for the first time since 1988-89, clinching the Ivy League's automatic berth in the WNIT.
In 2009-10, Gobrecht guided the Bulldogs to a 13-15 finish, the highest win total since the 14 victories in the 2001-02 season. Yale closed the 2009-10 campaign with an 8-6 record in Ivy League play, the best conference record since the 2001-02 season. It was the second time that Yale finished as high as fourth place in the Ivy League since 2001-02.
After posting a 3-24 mark in her first season with the Bulldogs, Coach Gobrecht led the team to 12 wins in the 2006-07. The nine-win improvement was one of the best in Division I that season. The 2006-07 season was highlighted by a six-game winning streak and a 15-point victory over a Marist squad that would reach the Regional Semifinals (Sweet 16) of the NCAA Tournament. Yale was also the only Ivy League team to defeat league champion Harvard. In 2007-08, Gobrecht led the Bulldogs to a 7-7 record and fourth-place finish in the Ivy League, their best conference finish since 2001-02.
Though the 2008-09 Bulldog squad was hampered by a multitude of injuries, Gobrecht led her team to an 11-17 record, the team’s second-highest win total in the past seven seasons. 2008-09 also featured a landmark victory for the program over North Carolina State, Yale’s first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. Gobrecht also reached a milestone 450th career coaching win last season.
After turning around the Cal State Fullerton program, Gobrecht moved on to the University of Washington. In 11 years, her teams went to the NCAA Tournament on nine occasions. The Huskies reached the NCAA Regional Semifinals four times during her tenure, and advanced to the Regional Finals (Elite Eight) in 1990. She won at least 16 games every year at Washington, including eight 20-win campaigns (six consecutive), and is the Huskies’ all-time winningest coach with 243 victories. Washington won three conference championships and finished second four times during her tenure. A two-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Gobrecht led Washington to a school-record 28 wins and a number-three national ranking in 1989-90. The Huskies were the only team to beat eventual NCAA Champion Stanford that season.
“My observation of Chris goes back to my days in the Pac-10 when I saw how well she developed the program at the University of Washington,” said Yale Athletic Director Tom Beckett. “She did a great job with the Huskies, and now she’s a Bulldog. We think it’s an absolutely perfect connection, and it’s definitely the right move for us.”
After 11 years at Washington, Gobrecht took over a struggling Florida State program in 1996. The Seminoles went 5-22 in Gobrecht’s only season before she left Tallahassee to take over at her alma mater, Southern California.
With USC’s win over Pepperdine on Dec. 4, 2002, Gobrecht became the 33rd active coach to reach the 400-win mark. In seven seasons with the Women of Troy, Gobrecht posted a 95-108 record. USC posted three winning seasons during her tenure, including a 15-13 mark in her final year, 2003-04. Two of her recruiting classes were ranked among the best in the country, and her teams regularly faced some of the best competition in the nation, including Pac-10 rival Stanford. In 2002-03 alone, the Women of Troy faced three of the previous four national champions: Connecticut, Tennessee and Notre Dame.
Gobrecht began her Division I coaching career with a struggling Cal State Fullerton program in 1979-80. She coached the Titans for six seasons, posting an 84-82 record. She led Cal State Fullerton to an 18-12 record in her third season on the job. In the 1984-85 season, Gobrecht’s last with Cal State Fullerton, the Titans posted a 19-11 record and made their first appearance in the WNIT, making her a finalist for national Coach of the Year honors.
She served as an assistant for a USA Basketball select team that played in Czechoslovakia and Italy in 1990. In addition, six of Gobrecht’s former players have played professionally in the WNBA and ABL.
Her coaching career began in 1978 at Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) High School, where her team went 20-4 and made the CIF AAA playoffs. The next year, Gobrecht led Pasadena City College to a 25-5 record, a conference championship and second place in the state junior college tournament.
A Toledo, Ohio native and a graduate of Huntington Beach (Calif.) High School, Gobrecht earned a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from USC in 1977. Then known by her maiden name of Chris Geiger, she was a three-year starter for the Women of Troy from 1974-76 and also played two seasons of volleyball at USC. After graduation, she spent a year volunteering in the Peace Corps, where she worked as an English teacher at St. Mary’s College in Apia, Western Samoa.
She and her husband, Bob, the President and Managing Director of Special Olympics North America, have two children, Eric and Madeline. Eric is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a recent graduate of the Air Force's flight school. A Captain, he is a C-5M pilot stationed in Dover, Del. In October 2011, Eric married Catherine Cheney, a 2010 graduate of Yale. Mady graduated from Yale in 2011 after four standout seasons on the women's basketball team. She is currently a math teacher and learning specialist and the head coach of the varsity girls basketball team at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., as well as an assistant coach for the softball team.
|Title:||Assistant Coach / Recruiting Coordinator|
The 2013-14 season will be Lauren Thomer’s second season as an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator for the Yale University women’s basketball team.
In her first season on Chris Gobrecht's staff, Thomer was instrumental in establishing Yale as an annual contender for the Ivy League championship, helping to guide the Bulldogs to a 13-15 finish in 2012-13 and a fourth-place finish in Ivy League play with an 8-6 mark.
During her time at Yale, Thomer has coached two players who have competed on the international level in Megan Vasquez, who was a part of Puerto Rico's attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, and Janna Graf, who led Germany's U-20 squad to a second-place finish in the European Championships.
While at Yale, Thomer has coached an All-Ivy League First Team selection (Sarah Halejian, 2012-13) and two All-Ivy Honorable Mention players (Vasquez, 2012-13; Graf, 2012-13). She brings eight years of coaching experience that are highlighted by seven winning seasons, four conference championships, nine All-Conference players, six 1,000-point scorers, and overall record of 157-79 as a head coach and an assistant.
Thomer arrived at Yale after three seasons as the head women’s basketball coach at Manhattanville College (Division III), where she guided the Valiants to a 45-32 record over three seasons, which included consecutive Freedom Conference regular-season championships in 2009-10 and 2010-11. In just three seasons at Manhattanville, Thomer moved into third-place on the program’s career victories list. In her first two seasons, she posted the second-most wins by a coach in their first two seasons in program history.
During her tenure at Manhattanville, Thomer coached two 1,000-point scorers in Courtney Turner (2011-12) and Simona Gordon (2010-11), a D3Hoops.com All-Region honoree and MBWA All-Metropolitan honoree in Carey Hickey in 2010-11, in addition to three All-Freedom Conference First Team honorees in Hickey (2010-11), Simona Gordon (2010-11 & 2009-10) and two All-Freedom Conference Second Team award winners in Hickey (2009-10) and Turner (2009-10).
Thomer had a tremendous debut season as a head coach with the Valiants in 2009-10, earning Freedom Conference Coach of the Year honors while leading her squad to the Freedom Conference regular-season championship — the first regular-season conference title in school history and the first conference title of any type for Manhattanville since 1981-82. In all, Manhattanville posted an overall record of 19-8 and a 12-2 Freedom Conference record, marking the fourth-most wins in a single season in program history and the most by a Valiant team since 1983-84. The team’s 12 conference wins also marked the most conference wins ever by a Manhattanville women’s basketball team.
Following a successful first season, Thomer led the Valiants to a second straight Freedom Conference regular-season title in 2010-11, finishing the year with a 17-9 overall record and 10-4 Freedom Conference mark. In 2011-12, the Valiants finished the season with a 9-15 record, which included a 6-3 mark on their home floor and three wins in their last four games.
Prior to taking the head coaching position at Manhattanville, Thomer served as an assistant women’s basketball coach at the U.S. Military Academy, where she spent three years working under head coach Dave Magarity. Thomer served as an assistant coach at Army for two seasons, helping the team to a 37-24 record over that span. During her time at Army, she helped develop the winningest senior class in Army’s history, and she mentored four players who earned a total of seven All-Patriot League awards. Prior to that stint, Thomer served as head women’s basketball coach at the U.S. Military Academy Prep School (USMAPS) for one season, guiding the program to its first 4-0 record against the other service academy prep schools.
Thomer earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Journalism in 2004 from Rider University, where she was the Broncs’ point guard for four seasons. She was a three-time Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference All-Academic Team selection and received the team’s Academic Excellence award as a senior. She also earned her Master of Education degree in Kinesiology and Sport and Exercise Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2006.
While earning her master’s degree at Virginia, Thomer successfully balanced coaching duties on two different basketball teams. As the head coach for the University of Virginia’s club basketball team, she led the squad to a 46-6 record over two seasons and the 2005 East Coast Women’s Club Championship. At the same time, Thomer was the top assistant coach at the prominent St. Anne’s Belfield School in Charlottesville, Va., mentoring several future Division I players as the squad won a conference title and placed fifth in the Virginia State Tournament.
Jarietta Benton will enter her third season as an assistant coach for the Yale women's basketball program in 2013-14. She joined the Yale University women's basketball coaching staff in May 2011 after one year as an assistant coach at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and a four-year stint with the Saint Louis University women's basketball program.
Benton joined a Bulldog staff coming off of its first appearance in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). She will assist in all facets of game preparation, recruiting and player development.
In her first two seasons on Chris Gobrecht's staff, Benton was instrumental in establishing Yale as a perennial contender for the Ivy League championship. The Bulldogs posted a 16-10 record in 2011-12, marking the program's most wins since 1993-94, and followed that up with a 13-15 record in 2012-13 that included an 8-6 mark in the Ivy League. Yale finished the 2011-12 season with an 8-6 mark in Ivy League play and entered the final game of the season with a chance to lock up second-place in the Ivy League standings for a return to the WNIT.
During her time at Yale, Benton has coached two players with experience competing on the international level in Megan Vasquez, who was a part of Puerto Rico's attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, and Janna Graf, who led Germany's U-20 squad to a second-place finish in the European Championships. Benton's tenure also included Yale's 17th 1,000-point scorer in Vasquez, who reached the mark on Feb. 10, 2012.
In her two seasons at Yale, Benton has mentored two All-Ivy League First Team selections (Sarah Halejian, 2012-13; Vasquez, 2011-12), an All-Ivy Rookie of the Year (Halejian, 2011-12), and three All-Ivy Honorable Mention player (Vasquez, 2012-13; Graf, 2012-13; Michelle Cashen, 2011-12).
In her one season at IUPUI as an assistant under head coach Austin Parkinson, Benton was charged with assisting with post player development, scouting and video breakdown of opposing teams, and coordinating team travel arrangements. During her tenure at IUPUI, Benton was instrumental in the team's recruiting efforts, with a focus in Southern Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois.
Prior to joining the IUPUI staff, Benton spent three seasons as the Director of Basketball Operations on the Saint Louis University women's basketball staff. She began her coaching career as a graduate assistant coach with the Billikens. In addition to assisting Saint Louis head coach Shimmy Gray-Miller with daily operations, Benton oversaw the Billikens' community service projects, coordinated video operations and film exchange, assisted with travel arrangements, supervised student managers and served as summer camp director.
Benton was a member of the DePaul University basketball team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament in four straight years. As a senior and team captain in 2006, she helped the Blue Demons post a 27-7 record and reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to top-seeded Louisiana State University. Benton was presented the Maggie Dixon Captain's Award. Benton scored 261 points and distributed 72 assists during her DePaul career.
A native of Houston, Texas, Benton finished her prep career at Nimitz High School with 1,447 points, 887 rebounds, 327 steals and 205 blocks. As a senior, she led the Houston area with 19.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 44.0 percent from 3-point range. Benton was an honorable mention All-State selection by the Texas Sports Writers Association and twice was tabbed Second Team All-State by Texas Basketball magazine.
Benton graduated from DePaul in 2006 with a degree in fitness management. She earned her Master's of Arts in Higher Education from Saint Louis in 2010.
Clare Fitzpatrick, a 2013 graduate of Cornell University, joins the Yale University women’s basketball coaching staff as an assistant coach for the 2013-14 season.
This is the first coaching position for Fitzpatrick, who began her pursuit of a coaching career when she took part in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s “So You Want To Be A Coach” program during the WBCA’s national convention at the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans in April.
The Southbury, Conn., native left Cornell with her name inscribed all over the school’s record books. A three-time All-Ivy selection, she was named to the Ivy League All-Rookie team in 2010 and followed that with back-to-back Ivy League honorable mention selections in 2011 and 2012. As a senior, she was also named to the College Sports Madness All-Ivy First Team.
Fitzpatrick started a school-record 109 games during her career and finished ranked seventh overall in points (1,201), sixth in rebounding (609), fourth in free throws made (328), and fifth in blocked shots (68). One of the Big Red’s leading scorers and rebounders in each of her four seasons, she is just the second player in Cornell history, and first under head coach Dayna Smith, to reach 1,200 career points and 600 career rebounds.
Fitzpatrick lettered four times at the Canterbury School. She set the school scoring record with 1,521 points and eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau as a junior in just her 55th game. Fitzpatrick also set the individual game scoring record at Canterbury with a 43-point performance during the 2007-08 season. A three-time captain, she was named her team’s MVP all four seasons. Fitzpatrick led her team to the Class C New England Prep School Championship in 2009 and was named MVP of the championship game. She also earned NEPSAC All-Star team honors in her final three seasons. Fitzpatrick also lettered four times in field hockey and twice in softball.