Following a nationwide search, the Central Washington University Athletics Department has invited the three finalists for the women's basketball head coaching position to Ellensburg for on-campus interviews.
The three finalists are: Taylor Wagner, the Colorado Mesa University head women’s basketball coach, who will come to campus on Monday, May 5; Monique LeBlanc, Merrimack College’s head women’s basketball coach, Wednesday, May 7; and Molly Goodenbour, head women’s basketball coach at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), Friday, May 9.
“This is an outstanding group of finalists, who all have extensive and successful coaching experience at the NCAA level,” said Dennis Francois, CWU athletics director. “We’ve scheduled afternoon forums with each candidate, to give everyone interested—from on- and off-campus—the opportunity to meet with them.”
Wagner and Goodenbour will meet with community members at 1:30 p.m., while LeBlanc’s forum is set for at 2:00 p.m. on the days of their visits. Each forum will be held in Barge 304.
About the finalists:
Between 2012 and 2014, Wagner’s Colorado Mesa teams were victorious in 61 of 65 games, winning the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) championship in 2013 and again this past season. They were 35-0 at home during those same years. The Mavericks made it to the NCAA Division II Elite 8 in 2013 and the Sweet 16 in 2014. Wagner’s 2013 team also was eighth nationally with a 3.525 grade point average (GPA), as ranked by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Wagner was named the RMAC Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2014, and earned the regional honor in 2013.
From 2004 to 2012, Wagner was head women’s coach at Otero Junior College, in La Junta, Colorado, where his record was 187-63. He also served as an assistant men’s and women’s coach there, after being an assistant coach for two years with the men’s basketball program at the University of Alaska Anchorage, his alma mater.
LeBlanc has been the head coach at Merrimack College, in North Andover, Massachusetts, since 2011, adding associate athletic director responsibilities in 2012. Her 2013 team achieved the biggest win improvement in NCAA Division II women’s basketball for consecutive seasons with 12 more wins than the previous year. She also implemented team academic mentoring and study hall initiatives. The Warriors were ranked 12th nationally during 2011-12 with team GPA of 3.53. Her 2012 team also received the college’s community service award.
For four seasons, LeBlanc was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she received her master’s degree, and served as an assistant coach for three years at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where she earned her bachelor’s degrees. As a player, she was Bucknell’s team captain for two seasons, helping the Bison to consecutive 20-win seasons, and the school’s first Patriot League championship and NCAA women’s basketball playoff appearance.
Goodenbour has served at CSUDH since 2012. Last season, she led the Toros to a 20-10 record and the championship of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), along with a berth in NCAA Division II West Regionals.
From 2008 to 2012, Goodenbour was the head women’s basketball coach at the University of California, Irvine. From 2006 to 2008, she also served as head women’s basketball coach at California State University, Chico. She was named CCAA Coach of the Year after leading the 2008 team to a 28-6 record and to both the CCAA regular-season and post-season tournament championships, and a berth in the NCAA Division II West Regionals.
Goodenbour was an assistant coach at the University of San Francisco, head coach at Santa Rosa (California) Junior College, and played professionally, including with the Portland Fire and Sacramento Monarchs of the Women’s National Basketball Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree and played collegiately at Stanford University.
CWU’s next head women’s basketball coach will succeed Shawn Nelson, who resigned last month after three seasons in the position.
Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Athletics, 509-899-0235, firstname.lastname@example.org
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