Centenary coach takes Arcadia job

More news about: Arcadia | Centenary (N.J.)
Centenary file photo 

Lorie Khalil has been hired as the new head coach for the Arcadia women’s basketball program. Khalil takes over the reins from Crystal Gibson, who coached the team for three seasons prior to departing for a similar position at St. Mary’s (Md.) last month. Khalil begins her duties on Aug. 1, and will also serve as assistant Sports Information Director. 

Since 2005-06, Khalil has headed the women’s program at Centenary (N.J.). At the young age of 24, Khalil took over a program that was struggling both on the court and in the classroom. Under her leadership, the Cyclones have compiled four straight winning seasons, including the program’s first Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference berth in 2008-09. During the 2008-09 (81.5 points per game) and 2009-10 (83 ppg) seasons, her teams finished No. 1 in NCAA Division III scoring offense, finishing 13th for the 2010-11 season. She has developed nine All-Conference players, including Centenary’s all-time leaders in rebounding, field goals, assists and steals along with three 1,000-point scorers. Khalil, who served as an assistant coach at Centenary from 2003-2005, owns a win-loss mark of 81-72 as a head coach. 

While these numbers are certainly impressive, the awards Khalil is most proud of stem from the academic achievements her student-athletes strive for. Over the past two seasons, Khalil’s players have earned 29 Colonial States Athletic Conference All-Academic honors (3.2 GPA). Her Cyclones have been recognized the past two consecutive seasons by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association for having the second highest team GPA in the nation out of 435 Division III institutions. 

Her teams have also serviced the community in a variety of ventures, including “Day for David,” a pediatric cancer fundraiser that helped to raise $1,200 toward St. Baldrick’s Cancer Foundation. Her teams have also provided service for Philadelphia’s Ronald McDonald House, the Hackettstown (N.J.) Halloween Parade, the Centenary Women’s Center Breast Cancer Run and Lance Armstrong’s National Live Strong Day. 

Khalil was attracted to this opportunity because of the “stellar academic reputation Arcadia holds and the opportunity to coach in the highly competitive Middle Atlantic Conference that I once played in during my college career.” She adds, “Arcadia is one of the top tier universities in the north and I look forward to being a part of that excellence."

Having both played and coached at the Division III level, Khalil boasts a philosophy identical with the Division III model. "The foundation of our program will focus upon the belief of being the best possible people, not just basketball players, but the best possible within the classroom, on the basketball court and in society."  Khalil adds, "In the classroom, these young ladies will work hard and be passionate about learning. On the court, we will provide an up-tempo and exciting offense and defense.  And in society we will strive to be positive role models."

At Centenary, Khalil experienced great success through recruiting quality student-athletes both regionally and nationally and intends to replicate that success at Arcadia.  "My goal is to bring in young women that believe in our vision as a coaching staff,” says Khalil.  Khalil will be looking for “the all-around student-athlete, players that want to be recognized for both academic and athletic accomplishments, those who strive for excellence every day, those young women that want to make a positive difference on campus and in the local community, are excited and proud about being an Arcadia University women's basketball player."

Over the past three seasons, as the women’s basketball program at Arcadia has made steady improvements within their non-conference schedule, the team continued to struggle within the MAC’s Commonwealth Conference. A bright spot came on Jan. 15 at home against Lycoming as the Knights claimed their first league win since joining in the 2008-9 season. This year’s squad ended the regular season at 7-18 overall but finished in the bottom of the conference standings at 1-13. 

The team returns four of their top six from a season ago including returning leading scorer, senior Christine Taylor (11.2 PPG), juniors Jackie Law (9.3 PPG) and Angie Adams (9.1 PPG) and sophomore Krista Hsu (5.4 PPG). 

The Knights also regain the services of senior guard Ashley Gripper who sat out the 2010-11 season due to injury and will have five other returners competing for playing time.  

Khalil is a 2003 graduate of Moravian, where she was a two-year member of the women’s basketball team, playing under coach Mary Beth Spirk, who ranks in the top 25 in victories among active Division III coaches. Prior to transferring to Moravian, Khalil originally attended Delaware Valley where she also played two seasons for its women’s program under current Aggies head coach Laura Hogan. While at DVC, she was a participant on their 2000-01 ECAC Mid-Atlantic Region championship team.