BY LEXI LOBDELL ’20
After 14 seasons, head coach Michelle Scecina, left her position with the Lyons’ basketball team. On Jan. 4, Scecina was named the assistant athletic director for Student-Athlete Enhancement at Springfield College. Springfield is Mount Holyoke basketball’s number one competitor, currently leading the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference. It is also Scecina’s alma mater.
Since taking over in 2004, Scecina led the Lyons to 116 wins. She was named NEWMAC Coach of the Year, taking the Lyons to their first NEWMAC Championship in 2006-2007. That same year, the team earned the Lyon’s first spot in the NCAA Division III National Tournament. In addition to her success coaching, Scecina also taught classes in the physical education department at Mount Holyoke, including swimming, badminton and racquetball.
In an article published by the Springfield College Pride, Scecina said, “It’s a great feeling to be returning home to Springfield College. I’m really looking forward to working with the entire athletic department to help provide a positive experience for all student-athletes.” Scecina had a successful athletic career while at Springfield College. She graduated in 1997, after playing basketball for four seasons. She is the only player in Springfield history to end her career with both 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. She is also the record holder for most rebounds. In 2016, she was inducted into the Springfield College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Former Mount Holyoke assistant coach, Kevin Kudla, has stepped up to fill the Lyon’s interim head coach position. He was the assistant coach during the 2016-2017 season while teaching English at Ludlow High School.
Losing a coach mid-season is a big challenge for any team, especially one of 14 years. “Losing a head coach mid-season is a unique situation for sure,” said Kudla. “As far as the team is concerned, it simply means they will be hearing a different voice more often. I’m familiar with these student-athletes, as I have been their assistance for a year and a half now.”
He stressed the importance of coming together: “We have all been supportive of each other during this time of transition. We always talk about how it is easy to be a good teammate when things are going well.” When asked about the challenge of a coach leaving midseason, he added, “Now, during this bout of adversity, it is time to really step up as teammates. Our togetherness and work ethic has not changed; in fact, it may have increased. These are dedicated, committed, resilient student-athletes.”
When asked if the team’s goals for the season have shifted, Kudla said “Our goal remains to improve our basketball IQ daily. We are learning to play this great game of basketball quicker and stronger. Every day after practice the players answer the question, ‘How did I become a smarter basketball player today?’”
Guard Leah Hodges ’19 agreed with Kudla’s optimism. “This past season was a hard one and we appreciate all [Scecina] did for us this season,” said Hodges. “We are sad to see her go, but we are excited for the new opportunities ahead of us.”
The Lyons are hosting Wellesley this Saturday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m.