|Title:||Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach|
|College:||Southern California '77|
|Years at Yale:||8th 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 seven 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 two seasons. Gobrecht coached the Bulldogs to a 16-12 mark in 2011-12 and 14-15 record in 2010-11, the team's best two-year record in 18 years, when the Bulldogs finished 15-11 in 1992-93 and 16-10 in 1993-94. Under Gobrecht's leadership, Yale also recorded the most Ivy League wins in a two-year span (18; 10-4 in 2010-11, 8-6 in 2011-12) in the program's history.
The ninth coach in the 40-year history of Yale women's basketball, Gobrecht enters the 2012-13 season, her eighth season at Yale and 33rd season as a head coach (all at the Division I level) with an overall career record of 503-428 (.540), ranking her 22nd 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 23 players that earned Ivy League postseason awards, including two Ivy League Rookies of the Year (Sarah Halejian, 2011-12; Melissa Colborne, 2006-07), four All-Ivy First Team honorees (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), four All-Ivy Honorable Mention players (Chinenye Okafor, 05-06 & 06-07; Cashen, 10-11 & 11-12), five All-Ivy Rookie Team players (Janna 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 first team All-Ivy accolades since Katy Grubbs following the 1997-98 campaign.
Gobrecht also has coached two players who will compete on the international level in senior Megan Vasquez, who will attempt to help Puerto Rico qualify for the 2012 Olympics, and junior Janna Graf, who will compete for Germany's U-20 squad in the 2012 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.
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, 26, and Madeline, 23. Eric is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a recent graduate of the Air Force's flight school. 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 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 volleyball and softball teams.
|Title:||Assistant Coach / Recruiting Coordinator|
The 2012-13 season will be Lauren Thomer’s first season as an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator for the Yale University women’s basketball team.
Thomer comes to 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 the three seasons, which included consecutive Freedom Conference regular-season championships in 2009-10 and 20010-11. 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.
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, as well 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 first season with the Valiants in 2009-10, earning Freedom Conference Coach of the Year honors in her first season as a college head coach 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 finished with 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 up 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 to 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 of the U.S. Military Academy Prep School (USMAPS) for one season, guiding the program to its first-ever 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 also 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 also 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 recently completed her first season as an assistant coach for the Yale women's basketball program. 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 that was coming off of its first-ever 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 season on Chris Gobrecht's staff, Benton was instrumental in Yale's continued resurgence as a contender for the Ivy League championship, helping to guide the Bulldogs to a 16-10 record in 2011-12, the most wins in a season since 1993-94. Yale finished the season with an 8-6 mark in Ivy League play and went into 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 coached two players who will compete on the international level in junior Megan Vasquez, who will attempt to help Puerto Rico qualify for the 2012 Olympics, and sophomore Janna Graf, who will compete for Germany's U-20 squad 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 first season at Yale, Benton coached an All-Ivy League First Team honoree (Vasquez, 2011-12), an All-Ivy Rookie of the Year (Sarah Halejian, 2011-12), and an All-Ivy Honorable Mention player (Michelle Cashen, 2011-12).
In her one season 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 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 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.
Kelly Rotan recently completed her first season as an assistant coach for the Yale women's basketball program. Rotan joined the Yale University women’s basketball coaching staff in August 2011. After a successful playing career at Juniata College in Pennsylvania, Rotan spent the 2010-11 academic year working at Penn State University as a marketing coordinator in the athletic department, where she helped organize events, promotions and fundraising efforts for the basketball teams and other Olympic sports.
Rotan joined a Bulldog staff that was coming off of its first-ever appearance in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). She will assist in the development of the Bulldogs’ post players, as well as all facets of game preparation.
In her first season on Chris Gobrecht's staff, Rotan was instrumental in Yale's continued resurgence as a contender for the Ivy League championship, helping to guide the Bulldogs to a 16-10 record in 2011-12, the most wins in a season since 1993-94. Yale finished the season with an 8-6 mark in Ivy League play and went into 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, Rotan coached two players who will compete on the international level in junior Megan Vasquez, who will attempt to help Puerto Rico qualify for the 2012 Olympics, and sophomore Janna Graf, who will compete for Germany's U-20 squad in the European Championships. Rotan's tenure also included Yale's 17th 1,000-point scorer in Vasquez, who reached the mark on Feb. 10, 2012.
In her first season at Yale, Rotan coached an All-Ivy League First Team honoree (Vasquez, 2011-12), an All-Ivy Rookie of the Year (Sarah Halejian, 2011-12), and an All-Ivy Honorable Mention player (Michelle Cashen, 2011-12).
Rotan joined the Bulldogs’ coaching staff after graduating from Juniata in 2010. She led the Eagles to an NCAA Division III appearance (2008) and two consecutive ECAC South Region Tournament appearances (2009, 2010), including the 2009 ECAC South Region Championship, which was the first postseason championship of any kind in the history of women’s basketball at Juniata. During that tournament, Rotan shot a stellar 13-for-16 from the field (81.3 percent) and averaged 9.3 points over the three games in the tournament.
Rotan, originally from Atco, N.J., averaged 8.2 points and 7.1 rebounds during her senior season while serving as Juniata’s team captain. Primarily a forward for the Eagles, Rotan scored 590 points and grabbed 465 rebounds during her career and helped Juniata earn three Landmark Conference postseason berths during her four seasons. She also earned a place on the Landmark Conference's All-Academic Team in 2010 and was a three-time Academic Honor Roll choice as a sports management major.
|Title:||Basketball Operations/Sports Publicity Assistant (Primary Media Contact: Women's Basketball & Baseball)|
Jon Erickson enters his third year at Yale in 2012-13 and his second season coordinating the Women's Basketball team's operations responsibilities. He is also a Sports Information Assistant for Yale’s Sports Publicity Department, serving as the primary media contact for women’s basketball and baseball.
During his first two seasons at Yale, Erickson has assisted a staff that guided the Bulldogs to their first-ever WNIT appearance in 2011 and to a 16-win season for just the third time in their 39-year history in 2011-12.
In his operations role, Erickson is responsible for coordinating all areas of the women’s basketball team’s travel, including transportation, lodging, scheduling practice and shoot around times, and making arrangements for team meals. He also assists in game preparation in the area of statistical analysis.
Erickson brings a tremendous passion for the game of women’s basketball to Yale with more than 10 years of experience in the game of women’s basketball, including six years of working alongside the women’s basketball team at the University of Connecticut and 10 seasons of working with the WNBA.
During that time, Erickson has had the honor of working alongside Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame members Teresa Edwards and Geno Auriemma, Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Jennifer Gillom, as well as Olympic gold medalists and WNBA All-Stars Seimone Augustus and Diana Taurasi.
While working at Yale, Erickson also works as a team statistician and game day public relations assistant for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun. In this role, Erickson serves as the team’s primary scorekeeper during all home games while working as a secondary media contact for the Sun’s media relations department.
Prior to coming to Yale, Erickson was the Public Relations Manager for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx for the 2007 and 2008 seasons under head coach Don Zierden. During his time with the Lynx, Erickson directed all publicity efforts for the Lynx, traveled with the team to all road games, and managed the team’s website and social media efforts.
Before moving into public relations with the Lynx, Erickson spent 12 years as a sports writer, with the last nine years as a sports staff writer for the Journal Inquirer newspaper, a daily newspaper in the Hartford-metro area. While at the Journal Inquirer, Erickson assisted with the paper’s coverage of the UConn women’s basketball team, which included reporting assignments at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in 2002, 2003, and 2004, which coincided with UConn’s three consecutive national championships.
Erickson first discovered his passion for women’s basketball as a member of the Varsity Pep Band at UConn during the Huskies’ 35-0 season in 1995, which ended with the school’s first-ever NCAA national championship in basketball.
Erickson lives in West Haven, Conn., with his wife Melanie and their four children, Taylor (10), Madison (9), Cailyn (5) and Andrew (2).