MCLA searching for women's basketball coach after McGovern steps down

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NORTH ADAMS — Nearly eight weeks after MCLA hired a men's basketball coach, the school is looking for a new women's coach.

Holly McGovern, the winningest coach in school history, will not be returning to coach the team this winter. MCLA athletic director Laura Mooney said she was informed of this Monday. Neither Mooney or McGovern would comment on the reasons.

"Holly's done incredible things, both for basketball and with her time in tennis," said Mooney. "She was also one of our assistant soccer coaches.

"Her commitment and dedication and things she's been able to accomplish in the department as a whole have been instrumental in our growth."

McGovern came to MCLA as head basketball coach in 2005. In 11 seasons, she compiled a 123-164 record. She had five winning seasons, most recently going 14-13 in 2015-16.

Under the Westfield State graduate's tenure, the Trailblazers earned their first, and only NCAA Division III tournament berth in 2010. MCLA beat Worcester State 68-65 to win the MASCAC Tournament title, and then lost 68-47 to NESCAC power Amherst in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Mooney said that MCLA has already begun advertising for a new head coach. The ad showed up on the NCAA's employment website and through the college.

The opening is a full-time one, and is listed for a head women's basketball coach and coordinator of student-athlete development.

"I'm fairly confident there are going to be quite a few applications for the position, given that it's full time and that basketball is a highly sought-after position in the collegiate realm," Mooney said. "I think we are going to get well over 100 applicants for the position.

"We're going to push it out there and see what we get."

MCLA has about six weeks to get a coach who will put a staff together. Last year, the women's team played its first game on Nov. 14.

New MCLA men's coach Derek Shell came to North Adams with the experience of being a head coach at MASCAC rival Fitchburg State. In a perfect world, Mooney said she'd like to have someone with head coaching experience on the MCLA bench.

"For me, head college coaching experience is my number one preference," she said. "An assistant coaching position in college would again be my second preference.

"Someone who definitely knows the college game, has coached women before and is a proven recruiter."

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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