Pomona-Pitzer women's coach announces retirement

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Kathy Connell led Pomona-Pitzer to three SCIAC championships as part of 20 seasons at the school and 40 years in coaching.
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Pomona-Pitzer women’s basketball coach Kathy Connell will retire after an extensive 38-year coaching career. Connell, who has coached for 20 years at Pomona-Pitzer, mentored teams at four institutions during her coaching tenure.

"Kathy has had an incredible career as a coach and educator at Pomona-Pitzer athletics," said athletic director 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 coached at Smith for four years from 1976-80, then coached at Colgate from 1981-1992. Connell then came west to coach at Occidental from 1992-1996 before being hired at Pomona-Pitzer in the fall of 1996.

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 Division III NCAA 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 381-575 (.399) overall record. At Pomona-Pitzer, Connell was 182-310 (.370), and earned a 108-152 (.415) record in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. This year’s Sagehens finished 11-14 after a 1-6 start.

At Pomona-Pitzer, her teams won three conference championships and Pomona-Pitzer twice qualified for the NCAA TOurnament. 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, where she also earned her M.S. in administration. In 2004 she received her Ed D. in Educational Leadership from 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 40 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.