Wilkes athletic director Addy Malatesta has announced the hiring of Tara Macciocco as the new head coach of women's basketball. Macciocco becomes the 14th head coach in the program's 57-year history.
No stranger to the Northeastern Pennsylvania college basketball scene, Macciocco coached the past 14 seasons at Marywood, leading the Pacers to 10 consecutive Colonial States Athletic Conference postseason appearances and seven Eastern College Athletic Conference tournaments.
She replaces Chris Heery, who stepped down after seven seasons. Wilkes was 4-21 this past season.
"I am proud and honored to become the next head women's basketball coach at Wilkes University," said Macciocco. "Wilkes has all the right tools in place to attract high level student-athletes and the support from the entire Colonel community is outstanding. I am looking forward to working alongside Coach Metz and hope to mirror the success that he has had over the past few seasons with the men's basketball program. I also want to thank the entire administration and staff at Wilkes for allowing me the opportunity to lead the women's basketball program and look forward to learning from and working with Addy and (associated athletic director) Phil Wingert as I begin this journey," she added.
Most recently, Macciocco was named the CSAC Women's Basketball Coach of the Year in 2015-16 and 2016-17. The Macciocco-led Pacers tied a program record with 19 wins during the 2015-16 campaign, a year in which she took Marywood to its first-ever No. 1 seed in the CSAC playoffs with a 15-1 record. Marywood also won the first ECAC playoff game in program history in its semifinal run that same season.
Macciocco led Marywood to 10 seasons of 13 or more wins including eight seasons with 16 or more victories. Over her 14 seasons leading Marywood, Macciocco won 206 games including 141 in conference. Her players also received recognition for their play as 20 were named All-Conference, two Conference Rookies of the Year, one ECAC Rookie of the Year, six 1,000-point scorers and 62 were named to the conference academic honor roll.
"The path to success is clear to Tara," said Wilkes vice president of student affairs Paul Adams. "She understands our conference, is a seasoned recruiter in the mid-Atlantic region and has proven that she can build a winning program. We are excited to have her at Wilkes."
She also wore several other hats within the department at Marywood including assistant athletic director for compliance since 2008 and was an adjunct professor since 2005. Macciocco spent three seasons as an assistant women's volleyball coach during her time at the Scranton-based school.
"I am very thankful and always will be to Marywood University for giving me my first head coaching job and for allowing me to establish a successful women's program over the past fourteen years," explained Macciocco. "I felt that I couldn't let the chance slip by to return to where it all began for me and to the place that helped me realize my dreams of becoming a head college basketball coach. I am really excited for the challenge ahead and look forward to building the women's basketball program at Wilkes," she added.
Macciocco began her coaching career at Wilkes serving as an assistant coach under Jim Reed from 2001-2004. She also worked as the assistant director of admissions at Wilkes from 2002 until she departed for Marywood. Prior to Wilkes, Macciocco received her master's degree at Lock Haven, serving as a women's basketball graduate assistant coach.
She will look to lead the Wilkes program back into the MAC Freedom postseason for the first time since 1996-97. "The MAC Freedom is an outstanding conference and one in which I am very familiar with," she said. "There are some outstanding, established programs in the conference and our goal will immediately be to work towards a return to the conference playoffs."
Macciocco is well-known throughout the area for her time as a player on the court. At Dunmore High School, Macciocco scored 2,211 career points and led the Lady Bucks to the 1994 state Class AA title game. She went on to earn a Division I scholarship to Penn State and was a member of the Lady Lions 1994 Big Ten Championship team and was an integral part in the Lady Lions NCAA Sweet Sixteen run in 1996. Macciocco earned a Bachelor of Science in Sport & Recreational Management from Penn State in 1998. She finished her playing career at Division II Lock Haven during the 1998-1999 season where she was named to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference all-conference team.
Macciocco was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in October of 2004 and was ranked by the Scranton Times-Tribune as one of the area's top 100 athletes of all-time. Macciocco begins her duties at Wilkes on April 26.