In the first major move of his tenure, new Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron has hired former Auburn assistant Caroline McCombs as head women's basketball coach. McCombs, who has 15 years of experience as a Division I assistant, will be introduced at a Friday morning news conference.
"Our goal is to build a championship-caliber program that contends for America East titles and NCAA Tournament berths on an annual basis," Heilbron said in a statement Thursday. "I believe that Caroline brings the experience and vision that will allow the Seawolves to reach new heights. More importantly, Caroline demonstrated an ability and desire to be a mentor to young women, and she embraces our mission to develop leaders on the court and in the classroom."
McCombs replaces Beth O'Boyle, who recently accepted the head coaching position at Virginia Commonwealth after leading the Seawolves to a 24-9 record and a WNIT bid in her third season. Prior to the past two seasons at Auburn, McCombs was an assistant at Northwestern, Pittsburgh and Valparaiso, and she helped lead those teams to 11 postseason appearances, including five NCAA Tournaments and Sweet 16 appearances with Pitt in 2008 and 2009.
McCombs graduated from Youngstown State in 1998 and later was enshrined in that school's Hall of Fame as a member of four conference champions, two NCAA teams and captain of the 1998 NCAA team. She went on to play professionally in the Czech Federation. As a coach, McCombs has worked with two AP All-Americans and three players who were drafted by the WNBA.
"I know that we will develop a lasting, winning culture at Stony Brook," McCombs said in a statement, "where our student-athletes compete for America East championships, graduate with degrees . . . and are role models within our community."