Pomona-Pitzer’s Kathy Connell to Retire

After an extensive 38-year coaching career, Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Basketball Coach Kathy Connell will retire at the end of the 2015-2016 season, the Athletic and Physical Education Department announced today.

Connell, who will have coached for 20 years at Pomona-Pitzer at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season, mentored teams at four different institutions during her coaching tenure.

“Kathy has had an incredible career as a coach and educator at Pomona-Pitzer Athletics,” said Director of Athletics, Lesley Irvine. “We look forward to celebrating and highlighting Kathy’s tenure during the final season and want to thank her for her leadership and commitment over the last 20 years”

Connell started coaching at Smith College in Massachusetts for four years from 1976-80, then coached at Division I Colgate from 1981-1992. Coach Connell then came west to coach at Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) member Occidental for four years from 1992-1996 before being hired at Pomona-Pitzer in the fall of 1996.

“Professor Connell embodies the many qualities of a true Physical Educator and Coach,” said Associate Director of Athletics, Lisa Beckett. “Over her nearly 20-year tenure at the College, Kathy has served as a valuable mentor to the students in her classes and on her basketball teams. Her professionalism, kind nature, and willingness to give of herself have made her a genuine asset to the students, and a valued and respected colleague to her peers.”

Connell had an immediate impact on the Pomona-Pitzer program upon her arrival, tallying a 53-23 overall record in her first three seasons at the helm, including two SCIAC titles and a high of 19 wins in the 1996-97 campaign, when the Sagehens participated in the NCAA Division III Tournament. She added a third SCIAC Championship in 2002, with a 54-51 overtime win over Occidental in the regular season finale to earn another NCAA bid.

During Connell’s tenure, she has compiled a 370-561 (.397) overall record. At Pomona-Pitzer, Connell was 171-296 (.366) through the 2014-2015 season, and earned a 100-144 (.410) record in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

At Pomona-Pitzer, her teams won three conference championships and Pomona-Pitzer twice qualified for the NCAA Championships. In addition, Connell has coached two SCIAC Players of the Year, and three SCIAC Baldwin Award winners, plus numerous All-Conference players.

Connell graduated with a physical education degree in 1975 from Springfield College, where she also earned her M.S. in administration. In 2004 she received her Ed D. in Educational Leadership from the University of La Verne. Connell spent two years at Duchess Community College, where she played volleyball and basketball, before entering Springfield, where she played two more years of collegiate volleyball.

“It doesn’t seem like it has been forty years since I coached my first game. Apparently, time does fly when you are having fun,” said Connell. “I have been blessed to have chosen a path that provided me with the opportunity to work with some wonderful players, students, coaches and colleagues. These people have taught me valuable life lessons which made me a better person.”

A national search for Connell’s replacement will commence at the conclusion of the season.


Photo Courtesy Pomona-Pitzer Athletics

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