By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports
Sara Binkhorst is excited about her new job – she was recently named the new head coach of the Wheaton College women’s basketball program last month.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Binkhorst when asked about becoming the eighth head coach in program history.
“From the moment I stepped onto campus (as a candidate for the women’s basketball head coaching role) I was welcomed by the Wheaton community and the supportive (athletic) department, so I really am looking forward to all the things to come.”
Binkhorst arrives in Norton, Massachusetts after a successful four-year stint as an assistant coach with the Brown University women’s basketball program where she helped the Bears capture a pair of Ocean State Tip-Off Tournaments in 2017 and 2018 while assisting the squad to a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament in 2017.
With Binkhorst, the Bears finished above.500 three times, including this past winter, while also competing in the 2017 Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) where they defeated the University of Maryland Baltimore County (81-75) in the opening round before falling to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (87-84).
Binkhorst speaks fondly of her time at Brown, including what she learned from head coach Sarah Behn, who welcomed her to the coaching staff a few months after she graduated Bowdoin College.
Said Binkhors, “I will always be grateful for Sarah Behn for taking a chance on me (as a recent college graduate) and developing me (into the coach I have become). Brown was an unbelievable experience and it definitely helped me prepare (myself) for what I am excited to do at Wheaton.”
Being able to coach the Lyons will certainly bring back some fond memories of competing for the Polar Bears from 2011-2015 for Binkhorst, who flourished under the direction of current Bowdoin head coach Adrienne Shibles. As a member of the Bowdoin women’s basketball program, Binkhorst earned a pair of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) first-team honors while also being named the New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) Player of the Year in 2015.
In 2015, Binkhorst guided the Polar Bears to the NCAA quarterfinals – she averaged 14.4 points and 3.1 assists per game that season – and also became the 14th player in program history to net 1,000 points in her final regular-season contest against Tufts University.
Noontime Sports recently spoke with Binkhorst to discuss her excitement for coaching Division III basketball, as well as what she will be doing over the next few months to prepare the Lyons for a successful 2019-20 campaign.
On becoming a D-III coach: “I am a true believer in a Division III experience. I played at Bowdoin and had an unbelievable experience playing for one of the greatest coaches, Adrienne Shibles, so I am a firm believer in what Division III promotes between the balance of athletics and academics. I love Division III and wanted to get into coaching after I graduated from Bowdoin (in 2015), and was extremely fortunate that I landed at Brown. I learned so much from that experience, including how to recruit high-academic student-athletes, which is similar to the type of students I competed with at Bowdoin.
I (always) knew I wanted to become a head coach (after I graduated Bowdoin), and I wanted to return to the Division III world, (so landing at Wheaton is a dream come true). It is an unbelievable school that competes in a really competitive Division III conferences – I think (the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference) is one of the best in New England. Additionally, knowing the possibility of how to recruit regionally and nationally to a school like Wheaton is very exciting.
On competing in the NEWMAC: So, we competed against a few schools in the NEWMAC when I was playing for Bowdoin, but I have a great deal of respect for the conference and coaches. I feel really humbled and honored to be taking over a program to compete in the NEWMAC against some unbelievable coaches that have great traditions of success. I think the Wheaton program will continue to work hard to establish itself as one of the premier programs in the NEWMAC and we’ll obviously begin (this process) once we convene on campus this fall.
I am really looking forward to our first day of practice, being in the gym with our team and start competing, so we can (reach our goal) of becoming a championship program.
On preparations for the upcoming season: First and foremost, (the most important goal) is getting to know the women on our team. I have been able to have some great conversations with all the women on our team – I look forward to continuing (our dialogues) this summer, too – but I am really looking forward to getting to know our players and build relationships with them.
When everyone is on campus, I look forward to getting together and discussing the culture that we’re going to build collectively.
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