We had chance to catch up with the Bears' new women's basketball coach Alex Ivansheck and discuss among other things, her first month on the job, her coaching philosophy and adjusting to coaching at a military academy.
Ivansheck spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Ithaca College where she helped the Bombers post a 116-50 record, including an 81-11 mark in Empire 8 games. Ithaca made three NCAA playoff appearances, won four conference regular-season titles and two postseason tournament championships and recorded the league's first 16-0 record ever in any sport during her time there.
She is no stranger to Southeastern Connecticut, growing up in Salem and graduating from Norwich Free Academy in 2000.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Basketball has been such a big part of my life and I am so grateful that I was able to make it a career. I never thought I would be fortunate enough to come back to my home town and coach for such a well-respected institution. I have always been a very competitive player and coach and I am eager to bring that to the Coast Guard basketball program.
How has the first month on campus been for you?
Very busy! I spent every weekend in July on the road recruiting for the Academy. Among the places I visited were Pittsburgh, York, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and California. During the week I spent my time getting acclimated to the Academy, meeting other members of the staff and more importantly getting to know the prospective players on my team.
Have you had a chance to meet with the returning players that are on campus this summer?
Yes, during coaches time I have been able to open my office to the returning players as well as the swabs. I have enjoyed getting to know the team off the court and watch them play in the gym.
Tell us your coaching philosophy?
My philosophy in coaching centers around intensity and integrity. I expect my players to be competitive and focused. I consider myself much more process-oriented then outcome-oriented. I believe in setting goals, working hard and striving to get better.
What do you see as your biggest challenge during your first year?
Our biggest challenge will be cultivating a winning attitude among the players on the court, while balancing their demanding academic schedules and military life.
What do you see as the major difference between coaching at a military academy as opposed to a civilian school?
The major difference between coaching at a military academy as opposed to a civilian school would be recruiting. The Academy's target athlete will not only be academic successes but have to have leadership qualities and the desire to serve their country after graduation.
Tell us what you have heard about women's basketball in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)?
Being from the area I am very familiar with the NEWMAC and most of the coaches. Even while at Ithaca College I followed several of the teams and watched them play. I look forward to competing in such a prestigious group.
How excited are you for Oct. 15th to get here and holding your first practice as a head coach?
October 15th can't come soon enough! I am so excited to get on the court and can't wait to watch the team develop and play our first game. The cadet-athletes' enthusiasm and energy adds to my excitement.
The team has struggled, especially in NEWMAC play, going 1-17 in the conference in each of the last two seasons. What changes do you see to get this program going in the right direction?
First of all, we have to develop our strength and stamina to play a full 40 minutes at a fast pace. We have to unite ourselves and bond as a team learning to play with each other toward a common goal. In addition, we have to focus on honing our basketball skills and knowledge of the game.