Samantha Norris has announced her departure as head coach of the University of Southern Maine Huskies’ women’s basketball program.  The 11th coach in program history, Norris led Southern Maine for eight seasons (2015-2023) after serving as an assistant coach under Gary Fifield for one season (2014-2015). Norris also served as the Advisor to the Huskies’ Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and a lecturer.  Norris  will pursue opportunities outside of coaching.  A national search for the Huskies’ next head coach will begin immediately. 
“On behalf of the University of Southern Maine, and Huskies’ Athletics, I would like to thank Samantha Norris for her service and dedication to our student-athletes and the entire athletic department during her tenure,” said Director of Athletics Al Bean.  “Samantha served as a dedicated coach and colleague, and her work with our student-athlete body helped strengthen and establish Huskies’ Athletics and student-athlete connections in the community and across campus.”
Under Norris’ leadership, University of Southern Maine women’s basketball players earned Little East Conference post-season honors 15 times, including 2017-2018 Conference Rookie of the Year Kristen Curley and the program’s first and only LEC Defensive Player of the Year, Alexa Srolovitz (2017-2018).  Three players earned Maine Women’s Basketball All-State honors, and four earned MWBCA post-season honors, including All-State and All-LEC center Victoria Harris (2018-2022) who received John Lewis Youth Leadership Honorable Mention recognition in 2021.
Norris’ team’s earned the University’s Remo Riciputi award, presented to the team with the top grade point average, five time in her tenure, and in 2021 and 2022 USM Women’s Basketball was recognized by the WBCA for its academic performance, receiving the WBCA Academic Top 25 award for the first time in program history in 2021. Three of Norris’ players earned the University’s Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award, including Morgan Eliasen ’21, Jackie Luckhardt ’22 and Kim Howrigan ’19.  Howrigan was the University’s Outstanding Student Leader award recipient in 2019, and was USM’s NCAA Woman of the Year nominee, while Eliasen was presented with the Senior Husky Achievement Award in 2021. 
During her time at Southern Maine, Norris received the WBCA 30 Under 30 award in 2018, and the Coach and Athletic Director Magazine Sports 40 under 40 award in 2019.  She was presented with the 2017 USM President’s Award for Community Engagement, and the 2018 Donald Harward Award for Faculty Service Learning.  She has been selected as the University’s Outstanding Student Organization Advisor twice, and received the 2019 Faculty Senate Awrd for Community Service. In 2019, USM’s SAAC was honored by the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) with its Jostens Community Service Award. 
Norris will remain with the University through the academic year fulfilling her role as lecturer and advisor, maintaining recruiting and being a resource for student athletes.

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