Carissa Sain has been named the Illinois Institute of Technology head women’s basketball coach. She spent the previous 12 seasons with the University of Chicago women’s basketball program, including the last eight as head coach.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to join Illinois Tech,” said Sain. “I want to thank Usha Gilmore and everyone involved with the hiring process for giving me the chance to lead this program. The combination of Illinois Tech’s education, athletics model and location make it such a unique and perfect fit for my family and I. I feel fortunate that it has come together for us and I’m excited to get started.”
Sain’s collegiate background spans 20 years, both as a player and coach. Her eight-season tenure as Maroons head women’s basketball coach began in 2012-13 on an interim basis before she took over permanent duties following that season. Sain inherited a Chicago squad that finished 7-18 in 2012-13, and elevated the program to trips to the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament in each of her last four seasons.
She led the Maroons to the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament Second Round in 2019-20, 2017-18 and 2016-17. The 2017-18 campaign saw Sain and the Maroons achieve a perfect 14-0 record in UAA play en route to a 24-3 overall mark, which included a 22-game win streak at one point. Chicago claimed three (2014-15, 2017-18, 2019-20) UAA Women’s Basketball Championships, as well as a 139-68 overall record under Sain’s leadership.
Sain accumulated four UAA Women’s Basketball Coaching Staff of the Year honors, and two D3Hoops.com Central Region Coach of the Year awards. Players achieved many individual accolades under Sain’s watch as head coach; which included eight D3Hoops.com All-Central Region selections, one D3Hoops.com Central Region Rookie of the Year, one D3Hoops.com All-American, 17 All-UAA selections (not counting honorable mention), two UAA Rookie of the Year awards, three UAA Defensive Player of the Year honors and one UAA Player of the Year.
Sain arrived to UChicago in 2008-09 as the assistant women’s basketball coach, a post she held for four seasons. She coached the 2012 Jostens Trophy winner (NCAA Division III Player of the Year) Taylor Simpson, and helped mold two UAA Players of the Year, three D3Hoops.com All-Americans and two WBCA All-Americans throughout her stint as Maroons assistant coach.
Prior to Chicago, Sain spent eight seasons at Carnegie Mellon University as a player (2000-05) and assistant coach (2005-08). As a player, Sain was a four-year starter, three-time All-UAA selection, and finished as CMU’s sixth all-time leading scorer with 1,189 points. She also set school records for most three-point field goals made in a career (175) and season (54).
Sain obtained her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 2005. She went on to earn a master’s degree in exercise physiology with a focus on performance enhancement and injury prevention from California University of Pennsylvania in 2008. She is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a performance enhancement specialist, a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and graduated from the first Gambetta Athletic Improvement Network Apprentorship (GAIN) in 2008.
Photo Courtesy Illinois Tech AthleticsD3 NACC