Jennifer Leedham, a six-year veteran in the New York Metropolitan area as a Division I assistant, has been named the ninth women’s basketball head coach in Saint Peter’s University Athletics history, Director of Athletics Rachelle Paul announced Monday. An introductory press conference for Leedham will be announced at a later date.
“We are so excited to welcome Jenn to the Peacock family,” Pauls said. “Her experience both as a head coach and top assistant in the Northeast in combination with her energy on and off the court made her a perfect fit for our women’s basketball program. We cannot wait for her to show her impressive skills here in Jersey City and take our women’s basketball team to new heights. I also want to personally thank Senior Woman Administrator Katie Arcuri for helping lead the charge on the search for the position. Her leadership and vision were crucial in finding the perfect fit for the Saint Peter’s community.”
“Jenn is the perfect fit for everything we are looking for at Saint Peter’s,” Arcuri said. “Throughout the job process, it became clear that Jenn was the obvious choice to be the next person to lead our women’s basketball process. Her drive and passion will be instrumental to continuing the success of our women’s basketball program. I’m so excited to work with her moving forward!”
Leedham takes over the reins at Saint Peter’s after serving as associate head coach at St. Francis Brooklyn, where she helped guide the Terriers to one of their best seasons in program history in 2021-22. Last winter, SFC posted a 17-10 overall record and finished 13-3 in the Northeast Conference, finishing second in the NEC standings and setting a new program record for victories.Under Leedham’s guidance, the Terriers led the NEC in a number of offensive categories including scoring offense (64.7 ppg) and assists per game (14.3).
“I would like to thank Interim President Fred Bonato, Athletic Director Rachelle Paul and Senior Woman Administrator Katie Arcuri for this tremendous opportunity and believing in me to be the next leader of the women’s basketball program,” Leedham said. “I am truly excited for this opportunity and look forward to building something special with our student-athletes. I ensure we will work hard to make the Saint Peter’s community and Greater Jersey city area proud of us on and off the court. Go Peacocks!”
Leedham will be taking over a Peacock program that has soared to new heights in recent seasons. SPU has advanced to at least the Quarterfinals of the MAAC Tournament in back-to-back seasons. The Peacocks also made their first appearance in the MAAC Title game since 2002 in 2020-21 and have had at least one All-MAAC selection in each of the last three seasons.
Prior to joining the staff at SFC, Leedham served as a women’s basketball assistant coach at fellow NEC member Wagner for three seasons. As a member of the Seahawks’ coaching staff, Leedham helped guide the program to the 2018-19 NEC Tournament. During that season, Wagner doubled its conference wins total from the season prior and qualified for the NEC tournament for the first time in five years.
Leedham aided the 2017-18 Seahawks to several top-five rankings among the NEC, which included being ranked second in three-point field percentage defense. Wagner was third in rebounding defense, fourth in field goal percentage defense, while it ranked fifth in both scoring defense and rebounding margin.
Leedham also oversaw the development of Kerstie Phills, who went on to claim the 2016-17 NEC Rookie of the Year award as well as earn All-NEC Second Team honors. Phills went on to capture a program-record eight NEC Rookie of the Week honors, while finishing the season shooting 48.1 percent from the field (second in the NEC) and 42.9 overall (ranking among the top-10).
Prior to her arrival at Wagner, Leedham was the head coach at her alma mater, Franklin Pierce, guiding the Ravens to a pair of NCAA Championship appearances (2013 & 2015) while reaching the Northeast-10 (NE-10) Conference Championship game in all four seasons.
At Franklin Pierce, Leedham mentored one All-Region selection, six All-Northeast-10 selections, and one All-Rookie Team choice. She also coached Tiffany Johnson, who claimed the 2012-13 Northeast-10 Defensive Player of the Year award. Before accepting the head coaching position of the Ravens’ program, Leedham spent three seasons as an assistant, as she was fully entrenched in all aspects of the program, and was heavily responsible for all of the program’s recruiting efforts as well as player development, fundraising, team travel, and scouting.
Outside of the college circuit, Leedham has also been active on the international coaching carousel. She was named the U16 Girls’ Coach for the 2020 FIBA World Basketball Championships, representing Great Britain. She became the first female to be appointed to the respective position in its history.
A native of Ellesmere Port, England, Leedham is a 2016 inductee into the Franklin Pierce Hall of Fame. A 1,000-point scorer, she led the Ravens to an appearance in the 2009 NCAA Division II National Championship game and was named to the NCAA Elite Eight All-Tournament Team.
At that season’s end, Leedham was bestowed several prestigious honors, including the 2009 Walter Peterson Female Senior Student-Athlete of the Year award and the NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award while being tabbed to the NE-10 Second Team. In the summer of 2009, she went on to represent Great Britain in the World University Games in Serbia.
Leedham graduated from Franklin Pierce in May of 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in sports and recreation management. Later, she earned her MBA in Leadership from Franklin Pierce in May of 2013.
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