WILLIAMSTOWN – In just under a month, the Williams College women’s basketball team will be on the court for their first practice. By then, coach Pat Manning is hoping his staff will be restarted.
That’s because longtime assistant Meredith Mesaris and assistant Kerrie Kozakowski have both moved on to bigger and better jobs.
Mesaris, who was on the Williams bench from 2016 to 2021, was named assistant coach of Dartmouth Division I. She will work for new head coach Adrienne Shibles, who has known Mesaris’ work since the days when the new coach from Dartmouth moved to his NESCAC rival, Bowdoin.
“Meredith has been with me for five years and she has done a fantastic job. She is fortunate to work with Adrienne Shibles who has coached Bowdoin for years. She has made a wonderful staff,” said Manning. “I think Meredith has always wanted to try DI, especially the Ivies, so she has this opportunity. It’s an incredible opportunity for her.”
Mesaris was a two-time American WBCA player in Scranton and an assistant coach at Hendrix College in Arkansas before joining Williams.
Kozakowski, who had worked for Manning since 2019, took a different direction. Kozakowski was named the head coach of Perkiomen School, a Grades 6 to 12 prep school in Pennsburg, Pa., A school about 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia. She will train and teach history.
“They wanted someone with varsity coaching experience because they’re trying to get their girls program on track with the boys. I guess the boys’s program is nationally rated and travels a lot,” he said. Manning said. “It’s also a great opportunity for her.
“They both made the right choice. They were phenomenal assistants and as we didn’t play last year our last memory with them is the victory in Ithaca. [in 2019] when we qualified for the Sweet 16 ”of the NCAA Division III Women’s Tournament.
Kozakowski played at Division III Ramapo College and trained for three years at Widener before coming to Williamstown.
Now that the hiring freeze at Williams has been lifted, the positions have been posted.
Manning said his newer staff was ideal in the sense that Mesaris worked with frontcourt players and Kozakowski could work with backcourt players. Ideally, this will be the case again. Manning said she’s as interested in having two good assistants as she is two different ones.
“I think ideally we like the mix of a post coach and a guard coach. I’m not against the two being in the same position,” she said, “ because I’m looking at what I want to do with my assistant coaches is train them. I think it’s really important to be able to do both. We’ll see what the candidate pool looks like. Ideally that would be great to have a post coach and a guard coach. “
Another former Williams assistant, Samantha Crough, has just returned to New England. Crough, who spent two years at Williams before going to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for four seasons, has been named the new Division III Regis head coach.
Manning laughed when asked how fast Crough’s team would travel from Weston to Williamstown.
“If they’re open, maybe a tournament next year,” she said. “She will do a good job there.
“Her growth has been phenomenal over the past few years, and I am so delighted that she is taking the next step and becoming a head coach.”