New Women’s Basketball Coach Plans to ‘Leave a Mark’

New Women's Basketball Coach Plans to 'Leave a Mark'

Melanie Quintanilla, Web Editor-in-Chief

The women’s basketball team will be led by a new head coach, Jason Rhine.

Rhine received his undergraduate degree in sports management from Keystone College, where he was also was an assistant to the women’s basketball team for two years. He then continued his career by becoming a graduate assistant at California University of Pennsylvania for two years. He furthered his coaching career in the 2014-2015 season as an assistant at Washington and Jefferson College. Last season, he was an assistant coach at Aurora University in Illinois where his team finished runner-up in the Northern Athletic Collegiate Conference.

Charles Edkins, Director of Athletics, said that his “genuine respect for Misericordia and how he spoke so passionately about our school” is what stood out to him. “He is aware of the positive image that MU Athletics has, and he truly wants to be a part of this institution.”

Rhine was more than excited when we was told that he was chosen to take on the head coaching job.

“Luckily enough, I was alone when I was told of the decision because I was calm and collected as I accepted the position, and the moment I hung up the phone call you would have thought I just won the national championship,” Rhine said.

Edkins said that the reason Rhine was chosen is because he has a “strong coaching and recruiting background,” Edkins said. “He has been instrumental in the success of each program that he has been associated with. He is a good fit for MU and has the desire to provide a positive culture to help our student athletes to develop as people, students and players.”

Rhine applied to become the new head coach of the women’s team because he knew it was a university that stressed academics and “takes great pride in their academics and athletic programs.” The other reason is that he considers Northeastern Pennsylvania as part of his “family,” since he has spent many years in the area. “Misericordia is a very comfortable and welcoming environment,” Rhine said.

Rhine has laid out some goals for this season.

“My number one goal for this year’s team is to change the culture inside and out. First, starting in the classroom and further onto the basketball court,” he said.

He also has strategies to accomplish these goals.

“It starts with culture, and from day one my approach has been to achieve something small each and every day that betters the culture of the women’s basketball program. I have a ‘leave your mark’ philosophy for our recruits, players, and more importantly, myself.”

Senior speech pathology major Shannon Croasdale said she has full faith in Rhine to better the women’s program.

“He has established himself and has goals of where he wants the program to go. His constructive criticism, positive energy and discipline sets the path that we need as a team to have success.”

There are also some goals that Edkins and the team want Rhine to fulfill.

“To provide a positive culture for our women and to hold them accountable for their actions in the classroom, court and in the community. The goal for each athletic team is to position themselves for conference championship play,” said Edkins.

Croasdale said the team wants the coach to  create a positive atmosphere where players can learn and grow, not only as basketball players, but as people as well.

“We expect to have not only a coach, but a mentor. Additionally, we expect coach to lead us to success. We need someone who has the knowledge and leadership abilities to move this program toward new successes, and this is something coach has demonstrated to us thus far.”

The team has not had much trouble adjusting to the new leader or his approach to coaching.

“Coach Rhine has laid down a foundation for the program that everyone is on board with. Having a new coach has given our team an incredible opportunity to really excel this year. An overall better atmosphere has allowed our team to already come so far, and the season hasn’t even begun yet,” said Croasdale.

Rhine hasn’t taken long to settle in.

“There are no nerves, just a ton of excitement and some fire within me because of my competitiveness.”

Rhine said he believes that he is the best fit for the program.

“This program needed a role model, positive energy, someone who cares and someone who serves the University in the most appropriate way.”

Croasdale said he meets those qualifications and more.

“From his first interview, he loved Misericordia. He embodies what we value here and carries it over into everything we do. His emphasis on family has already created such a positive impact on our program and on and off the court.”

The team hasn’t met with much success in the past, and so players are looking forward to meaningful change.

“We are excited to have someone determined to change that and build a more successful program. There are very talented girls on the team, and with the right coaching, I think we can be very successful,” said Croasdale.

Rhine said that the one thing that he offers is his dedication.

“I have quickly made Misericordia home, and when you have that sense of feeling with anything in life, you’re willing to lay it all on the line for the betterment of the situation,” Rhine said.

With coach Rhine’s dedication, the team aims for the Mid-Atlantic Conference championship.

“Obviously, everyone’s number one goal is to win the MAC championship and get that ring and that’s something we most definitely work towards every day. Our goal is to get better each day and ultimately win games,” Croasdale said.