There will be two fresh faces on the sidelines of the women's basketball games this winter: Coach Adrienne Shibles and Assistant Coach Alison Smith '05.
In June, the College announced the hiring of Adrienne Shibles as the new head coach of the women's basketball team, after former coach Stephanie Pemper unexpectedly accepted the head coaching job at the Naval Academy, a Division I school.
Shibles, a 1991 Bates graduate, was the head coach at Swarthmore College from 1996 to 2005, though most recently served as the Athletic Director at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine.
"She was very successful at Swarthmore," Director of Athletics Jeff Ward said.
Shibles said that the transition to Bowdoin has been smooth thus far.
"It's been wonderful, everyone in the community has been fantastic," Shibles said.
Joining Shibles as assistant coach is Smith, a former women's basketball standout for the Polar Bears who captained the team her senior year and appeared in the 2004 Division III National Championship game.
"For me, it's been great to have Alison to get me up to speed on Bowdoin and the rich basketball tradition here," she said.
Smith also said she thought her past experience as a Polar Bear would help the team.
"I think some of the girls were a little more nervous about [tradition] because Coach Pemper embodied that," Smith said. "I think being someone who has been a part of that has helped the transition."
Shibles indicated that she and Smith are changing the team's style of play fairly significantly.
"Alison and I are defensive-minded coaches; the focus is on defense and rebounding," she said.
Shibles also said that she is encouraging more of a transition offense and more fast breaks.
Smith added that she felt the team has a lot of individual talent, so they are hoping to give players more liberties, with less of a regimented offense than under Pemper.
"We're working really hard at emphasizing these things but being disciplined at the same time," she said. "We don't want it to be sloppy, it's about finding that balance."
Tri-captain Maria Noucas '09 said she and the rest of the team have been very pleased with their new coaches and have noticed a difference in both the style of play and coaching.
"She has a completely different style of coaching from Steph," she said. "She has really made basketball fun for us."
Smith, who played under Pemper, is a strong believer in Shibles' coaching philosophy.
"She's a very family-oriented person, and I think that shows in her coaching style," she said.
In terms of the upcoming season, Shibles was optimistic, but did not want to get ahead of herself.
"I'm not going to make any predictions," she said. "I really believe in this team. [But] we're focused on the process of winning."
However, Shibles and Smith both spoke volumes about the women that comprise their team.
"They look great," Smith said. "A really great group of women. The senior leadership is great."
No matter how the season turns out, as the team heads into its first game against Western Connecticut State on Saturday, it seems that everyone is happy.
"I'm probably even more thrilled about her now than when we hired her," Ward said.
"She's the perfect person for the job," she said.