Pomona-Pitzer Names Jill Pace Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Jill Pace (formerly Jill Henrikson), who helped coach Tufts University in the Division III National Championship game this past season, will become the new head coach for the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens women’s basketball team. The hiring marks a new era for the program after the retirement of 20-year head coach Kathy Connell.

“We are thrilled to have Jill become a Sagehen,” said Director of Athletics Lesley Irvine. “One of the things that stood out throughout our process is the success that Jill has been consistently affiliated with both as a coach and student-athlete. Jill brings a track record of success, along with passion to support our student-athletes who aspire to be the best on the court and in the classroom. I’m excited for the future of the program and for Jill to be an exceptional leader, motivator and mentor for the students on our campuses.” 

Pace spent two years as assistant coach at Tufts University where she coached under the 2015 U.S. Marine Corps/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division III National Coach of the Year Carla Berube. Pace was a key member of Berube’s staff, helping the team reach the Division III National Championship, where the Jumbos finished as the runner-up to Thomas More College. While Pace was an assistant at Tufts, the Jumbos tallied a 58-7 overall record and two consecutive Final Four appearances.

“I am excited for Jill on being named the next Head Coach of Pomona Pitzer Women’s Basketball,” said Berube. “Jill is a perfect match for the vision and mission that both Pomona and Pitzer Colleges have on educating the whole student.  Jill not only has a great basketball mind but she’s very passionate about bringing out the intellectual passions of her student athletes while also cultivating them as both leaders and active citizens in the community.  Jill was a loyal and dedicated member of our staff here at Tufts and helped us to two record setting seasons.  She will be a wonderful mentor, an engaging teacher and enthusiastic coach for the Sagehens.  I am thrilled for Jill and her husband Joe as they embark on this incredible new chapter of their life”.

Before coaching at Tufts, Pace was an assistant coach at Smith College and helped the team make its first ever NCAA tournament appearance and record the first-ever NCAA tournament win in program history.

Before coaching, Pace played Division III college basketball at Bowdoin College. During her time as a Polar Bear, Pace won one NESCAC Championship and made NCAA tournament appearances during all four years.  She was a captain in her senior season, an All-NESCAC selection, a NESCAC All-Academic selection, a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American and was a 1,000-point scorer for the Polar Bears.

Pace will begin her head coaching career as a Sagehen for the start of the 2016 season and begin to leave her mark on the Pomona-Pitzer women’s basketball program.

“I would like to thank Betsy Crighton, Lesley Irvine, and the entire search committee for this tremendous opportunity,” said Pace. “Pomona and Pitzer Colleges are two very special places in a beautiful part of the country. I feel fortunate to now be part of a Sagehen family with truly genuine faculty and staff who understand the values of Division III in their commitment to supporting student-athletes to be at their best in the classroom, on the court and in the community. I would also like to thank my family, mentors, and assistant coach colleagues for supporting me every step of the way. My husband and I are looking forward to making the transition to the Claremont community.”

Pace graduated from Bowdoin in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and gender and women’s studies and then obtained a master’s degree from Smith in 2014 in exercise and sport studies.


Photo Courtesy Pomona-Pitzer Athletics

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