Women's Basketball: Magarity signs five year extension

By Max Sullivan
On May 2, 2014

The UNH athletics department signed a five-year extension with Maureen Magarity, the current head coach of the women's basketball team.

Magarity was about to enter the fifth and final year of her contract. Athletic director Marty Scarano said he preferred to keep his successful coaches from reaching that last year.

"Typically, when I have a very good coach, I don't let them get into the last year of their contract," Scarano said. "So we started at the end of the season talking about terms."

Since coming to UNH, Magarity has led the Wildcats to two winning seasons and two America East semifinal appearances, including their first since 2005.

When Magarity came to UNH, she was only 29, the youngest coach in the country for both men's and women's teams. Her previous four years had been spent at West Point, the first two of which she was an assistant coach under Maggie Dixon, an influential women's basketball coach. Dixon died after her second year, and her father, Dave, took over for the remainder of her tenure.

By her late twenties, Magarity had decided that she was ready for a head-coaching job. Her father supported her, and she began visiting schools. One of the questions that commonly came up in interviews was her age.

"It was something that was brought up a lot," Magarity said. "Are you ready for this, your age, you feel like you have enough experience."

Aware of Magarity's connection to Dixon, Scarano interviewed the former Marist Red Fox and signed her to a five year contract.  

"She kind of emulates that kind of really compassionate strong educator in a woman for a coach [like Dixon] and, you know what, that's kind of a rare commodity, shes not a screamy yeller, she doesn't abuse the athletes, and that's the way we like to do things at UNH,"

"I'm so grateful to Marty and President [Mark] Huddleston to believe in me," Magarity said of her first contract. "Just because I didn't have any head coaching experience in the coaching world. I still am very young even with four years experience, so for them to take a chance on me and see something in me that other people didn't I think speaks volumes."

Scarano has loved what Magarity's done since day one. In her first season, 

"I was impressed immediately," Scarano said. "She was even better after we hired her than we thought she was."

Having grown up an hour and a half from New York City, Magarity said she knows that it can be tough to attract players to New Hampshire from outside of New England. People don't always realize the quality of living Durham provides in addition the level of education.

"We're trying to get down towards New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania area," Magarity said. "I think once people finally come on campus its like, 'Oh my gosh, its one of the most beautiful schools I've ever been to,' and being so close to the beach and Boston and there's just so many things going for us in recruiting. It's such an easy sell, but it's just getting people here, and for them to get in a car and say, 'Well, that's not as far as you think it is.'"

Magarity knows this is true because she had this very experience when she came up from West Point with her husband to visit Durham four years ago.

Scarano has had a trend of hiring younger coaches. Sam Lopes, 35, coached the women's soccer team for one year after being hired in 2013, and Hilary Witt, who is in her mid 30s, became the new women's hockey coach last week.

"There are a lot of younger, talented people out there that are in the coaching profession," Scarano said. "You look at coach [Sean MacDonnell], and Jim Boulanger and coach {Dick} Umile, they're kind of the stalwarts, and I'm trying to look at the department five, seven, 10 years from now bringing in a new wave of hopefully great UNHers."

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