Bridgewater looks far north for new coach

More news about: Bridgewater (Va.) | Keuka

Bridgewater College selected Keuka College head coach Sarah Gaffney as its new head women's bsaketball coach, replacing recently-retired coaching veteran Jean Willi.

College Director of Athletics Curt Kendall announced the decision on Friday via release.

"We are excited to have Sarah Gaffney as our head women's basketball coach," said Kendall in the release. "Her positive energy, disciplined approach and high expectations are a great fit for the talented returners she will inherit.  Her ability to connect with her players and recruits should pay dividends moving forward. As a recruiter, she has been a coach at all collegiate levels and has established many recruiting contacts throughout the east coast. We feel Sarah can continue the very successful legacy that both Jean Willi and her mentor, Laura Mapp, have established at Bridgewater College."

Willi announced her retirement in February, ending a 21-year career as the Eagles' head coach that included 375 wins.
Bridgewater finished 14-12, 7-9 in the ODAC last season. Gaffney follows Willi and Laura Mapp as just the third head coach in the program's 56 years.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to coach the women's basketball team at Bridgewater College. When I was there for my interview I thought the campus was just gorgeous and the Shenandoah Valley is a beautiful place," Gaffney said in the College's release. "I've heard so much about Bridgewater's strong academic reputation and it's a place where I believe you can win. Coach (Jean) Willi has certainly built a winning tradition and we will look to continue that tradition."

Gaffney also indicated that the Eagles will play an up-tempo style of basketball.

"It may not happen right away, but eventually we want to play at a quick pace. We will have a really positive culture in the program. If you come to a practice you will see a lot of high-fives and a lot of energy. We want to play fast, but we also want to still be taking quality shots and making good decisions," Gaffney added.
Gaffney spent the last three seasons as the head coach at Keuka where she went 31-40 with the Storm. Last season Keuka averaged 63.0 points per game, which was eighth of 14 teams in the NEAC. The Storm went 14-10, 11-7 in the NEAC.

Gaffney has experience at all three divisions of NCAA basketball. Before coaching at Keuka, she was an assistant at Division II Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. She spent a season as the director of basketball operations at Division I Elon and she worked as a student manager at UNC Greensboro where she earned her Bachelor's degree in physical education.

Gaffney played for two seasons at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, N.Y. where she was named a 2006 National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) first-team All-American and a 2006 NJCAA Academic All-American.