UNH Women’s Basketball Staff Update

Joe Rutigliano, Kennedi Thompson and Jessica George, have joined the University of New Hampshire women’s basketball program as assistant coaches. The announcement was made by first-year UNH head coach Megan Shoniker.

Rutigliano brings six years of Division I coaching experience to UNH. Most recently, he was at St. John’s University for three seasons, the last two as an assistant coach. The 2023 team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, and this past season the Red Storm went to the second round of the WBIT.

He specifically developed and coached the post players in addition to assisting with recruiting, planning practices, providing gameplans and developing scouting reports.

Rutigliano was an assistant video coordinator at the University of Louisville for the 2021 season – the Cardinals advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tourney – and  was a volunteer assistant coach the previous season at Cornell University. He earned a master’s degree at Saint Francis University (Pa.) while serving as the graduate assistant video coordinator for two seasons (2018 and 2019).

Rutigliano is a 2015 graduate of Canisius University.

“I have known Joe a long time and have watched him work and grind to get to where he is,” Shoniker said. “I have always admired him for his energy, ability to connect with people, and his pure love for the game. Joe has worked for some of the best basketball minds in women’s basketball and has seen what it takes to compete and win at the highest of levels. Our program will benefit greatly from his experience, and I could not be more excited that Joe is joining us at UNH.”

Thompson and Shoniker are reunited after spending the 2019 season together at Binghamton University – Thompson as a senior and Shoniker as an assistant coach. Thompson comes to UNH from the U.S. Military Academy, where she spent two years as an assistant coach.

In two years at Army, Thompson was a co-defensive coordinator, developed post players, generated scouting reports, assisted with recruiting and also served as the director of basketball operations.

Thompson spent the previous season (2022) at College of the Holy Cross as the director of basketball operations. She began her coaching career at St. Francis College (Brooklyn, N.Y.) as a two-year graduate assistant (2020 and 2021 seasons) and earned a master’s degree.

Thompson is no stranger to the America East conference. She is a 2019 graduate of Binghamton and was a four-year letterwinner on the Bearcats’ women’s basketball team. That 2018 squad won 20 games and advanced to the WBI postseason tourney.

“Kennedi is a rising star in our business, and we are lucky she is joining our Wildcat family,” Shoniker said. “Her background playing in the America East Conference and recruiting at a service academy will bring an immediate impact to our program. I had the opportunity to coach Kennedi at Binghamton and saw first-hand her commitment to both academics and athletics and her ability to create genuine relationships with those around her – our players, University, and community are going to love her.”

George comes to New Hampshire from UMass, where she held three positions since joining that women’s basketball staff in October 2020. Most recently, George was the director of player development since July 2023. Her responsibilities in that role included assisting coaches with individualized player development programs that included skill development, video assessment and improvement goal setting, as well as supporting coaches in weekly player/group workouts.

She was previously the director of basketball operations (July 2021- July 2023) and director of scouting & video operations (Oct. 2020-July 2021). The Minutewomen advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2022 and won a share of the Atlantic 10 title in 2023.

George is a 2019 graduate of UMass who was a four-year letterwinner and two-time captain of the women’s basketball team. She began her coaching career as the La Plata High School girls varsity assistant coach in the 2020 season.

“Jess brings a unique background and set of experiences that includes playing, coaching, and winning at a high level,” Shoniker said. “She has been a part of building a program to a championship level and understands what that process looks like. She has worked with and helped develop some of the best guards in the A10 and our players are going to benefit greatly from her knowledge, mentorship and skill development. I am so happy Jess is joining our program and can not wait to get started.”

Shoniker was named the eighth head coach in the history of the UNH women’s basketball program on April 24.

“I am thrilled to welcome all three to Wildcat Country – let’s get to work,” Shoniker stated.


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