Joanna Bernabei-McNamee Aims to Bring Success Back To Chestnut Hill

On Wednesday afternoon, you could find football’s Steve Addazio, men’s hockey’s Jerry York, and lacrosse’s Acacia Walker-Weinstein all in the same room of the Yawkey Athletics Center. Why? Each wanted to get their first look at their latest co-worker, as Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond officially announced Joanna Bernabei-McNamee as the new head coach of Boston College women’s basketball.

Jarmond—who spoke in front of a large crowd that included an assortment of BC Athletics staff and the entire returning basketball team from last season—first thanked his boss, University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J.

“He was instrumental in trusting me,” Jarmond said. “We didn’t hire a search firm—he trusted me, and we got it done.”

This is the first time Jarmond has gone through the process of a new coaching hire since moving to the Heights, and it’s clear that the freedom given to him by Leahy will be something to keep track of going forward.

The first-year AD also revealed he had spoken with the women’s team himself throughout the search process.

“You have my word that we are going to go out and find a coach that is gonna push you, help you grow on and off the court, and reach your potential,” Jarmond said. “I can tell you 100 percent that we found that person in Joanna.”

As for Bernabei-McNamee, the newly hired coached expressed tremendous gratitude and outlined the ways in which she would rebuild a successful program at BC.

“Our style is gonna be up-tempo,” she said. “Some things I envision are that we will be the most in-shape team in the ACC, we’re gonna be relentless rebounders, and we’ll have a positive perseverance. Those are all things we have control over right now—we don’t have to wait.”

BC’s fourth women’s basketball coach in 11 years has a tough task ahead of her. For a team that finished second to last in points per game in the ACC, as well as dead last in rebounding totals, Bernabei-McNamee has already acknowledged her team’s two biggest weaknesses.

Still, for a team that has not had a winning conference record since the 2004-05 season, Bernabei-McNamee’s history of excellence is refreshing, as far as BC is concerned.

“I wanted to find someone that has won and find someone that has been able to turn things around,” Jarmond said.

He will need Bernabei-McNamee to do both. In her two years at Albany, the head coach led her team to the NCAA Tournament and the WNIT, with a combined record of 45-20. It remains to be seen whether or not Bernabei-McNamee will be able to do the same in Chestnut Hill, but she is optimistic about having the ability to run a program at a renowned university with a chance to rebuild.

“We all want BC women’s basketball to be where women’s basketball fans migrate,” Bernabei-McNamee said.

Featured Image by Bradley Smart / Heights Editor