First-year head coach Morgan Valley has announced the addition of Melissa Hodgdon, Courtney Davidson and Hailee Barron to the Hartford women’s basketball team’s coaching staff.
Hodgdon joins Hartford as an assistant coach after spending 16 seasons as head women’s basketball coach at Wheaton College. A two-time New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Coach of the Year, she is the all-time wins leader in program history with 214 victories.
“I’ve known Melissa for 22 years,” said Valley. “She has helped me navigate through the recruiting process as a high school student, through college itself and through my coaching career. She has 16 years of head coaching experience and a great deal of contacts and relationships in the New England area. She was the first person I called when I got hired at Hartford, and I am so grateful she decided to join our Hawk family.”
Prior to her arrival at Wheaton, Hodgdon served as the top assistant at the College of the Holy Cross for four seasons. During her stint, the Crusaders captured three Patriot League Championships, advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times (2000, 2001, 2003) and the WNIT one time in 2002.
Beginning her coaching career in 1991 as an assistant coach at Framingham State, Hodgdon went on to spend two years as head coach at Wentworth Institute of Technology before taking on assistant coaching stints at New Hampshire and Niagara. A four-year standout player at Springfield College, she graduated with a degree in health education in 1991.
Davidson, who brings more than seven years of coaching at the Division I level, comes to Hartford as a recruiting coordinator/assistant coach after a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Youngstown State. A WBCA Thirty Under 30 winner, she helped lead the Penguins to postseason appearances in each of her two seasons. Working primarily with Youngstown State’s point guards, Davidson helped three-time Horizon League assist leader Indiya Benjamin finish her career as one of the top players in program history.
“Courtney comes very highly recommended by those in the business,” said Valley. “In a matter of an hour, I had three different people bring up her name for the job. Courtney is a bright, hard working student of the game who will positively impact young women in all areas of life. I believe her basketball knowledge, winning pedigree and proven recruiting abilities will have a great impact on the success of Hartford women’s basketball.”
Prior to arriving at Youngstown State, Davidson was an assistant coach at Radford for two years (2015-17), where she helped the Highlanders win their first regular season conference title in 25 years. She also spent one year as the Director of Operations at both the College of Charleston (2014-15) and Youngstown State (2013-14).
A 2008 graduate of Michigan State where she was a two-time Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year in 2006 and 2007, Davidson helped the Spartans make three NCAA Tournament appearances during her career. Michigan State was the national runner-up her freshman year, an Elite Eight team her sophomore year, and a Sweet 16 squad her junior year.
A standout member of the women’s basketball team at James Madison University from 2014-18, Barron joins Hartford’s coaching staff as an assistant coach after spending the past season as a graduate assistant at Wisconsin. Helping the Badgers to their most successful season since 2010-11, her responsibilities included assisting in recruiting and overseeing a team of eight student managers.
“Hailee is a rising star in women’s college basketball,” said Valley. “She is a New England native with a passion and dedication for the game of basketball who knows what it takes and how to win at this level. Hailee is hungry to gain experience, she’s a quick learner and she is willing to do whatever is needed for the program. She will undoubtedly be an asset to the players as well as a sounding board for the staff. I am beyond proud that she chose to work with this group and I cannot wait to see her growth, which will translate to the success of Hartford Women’s basketball.”
During her collegiate playing career, Barron led James Madison to two Colonial Athletic Conference Championships (2015, 2016), a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances (2015, 2016) and two WNIT appearances (2017, 2018). Graduating with a degree in health sciences, she earned the team’s Sixth Woman Award in 2016 and was named the Dukes’ Most Improved Player in 2015 and 2017.