LOWELL, Mass. -– Sarah Behn, one the most recognized names in New England women’s basketball, was named head coach of the UMass Lowell women’s basketball program, Director of Athletics Dana Skinner announced on Tuesday.
Behn becomes the sixth head coach in the program’s 36-year history.
“Sarah Behn’s accomplishments as one of the region’s greatest players, her operation of the largest basketball camp program in New England, along with her past experience coaching at the high school and college levels made her a compelling candidate from the beginning of the process,” Skinner said. “We are excited that she will be bringing her many contacts and high energy to UMass Lowell.”
Behn enjoyed a spectacular career at Boston College (1989-93) where she became the only four-time All-American in BC women’s basketball history and remains the all-time leading scorer in Big East regular season games with 1,546 points (67 games). For her career, Behn compiled 2,523 points.
BC’s first freshman All-American and Big East Conference Rookie of the Year in 1989-90, Behn was inducted into the BC Hall of Fame in 1998. Five years later, she became the first female student-athlete in BC history to have her jersey (No. 33) retired and was named among the top 10 athletes in BC history by Sports Illustrated in 2008.
She graduated in 1993 with a degree in communicationunivers. Following graduation, she played professionally for one year in Ettlebruck, Luxembourg, and led Central Europe in scoring with 35.0 points per game.
Behn inherits a program which went 9-18 overall and 8-14 in the Northeast-10 Conference (tied for 10th) and suffered a 74-59 loss at Saint Michael’s in the first round of the NE-10 Tournament.
“The great reputation of UMass Lowell and the power of the NE-10 in women’s basketball is what first attracted me,” said Behn. “I’ve been reading about the growth of UMass Lowell and I was excited when the job opened. When I visited the campus and met Mr. Skinner, the coaches, and administrators in the athletic department, I realized what a solid and hardworking family they have. It seemed like the perfect fit for me.”
The River Hawks return four starters and 13 veterans from the 2010-11 squad.
“I know we’ve got a really strong group of women coming back,” Behn said. “They seem committed and they want to work hard to improve. If we can get everyone on the same page working hard together, I know we can build the program up sooner rather than later. I think we have the players to do that.
“You have to give credit to Coach O’Neil who recruited these talented players,” she added. “I’m excited to take the reins.”
Behn established the Sarah Behn Basketball Camp in 1994, which remains the most successful basketball camp in New England. Over the last 17 years, her camps and clinics have developed more than 25,000 young women and men and have an annual enrollment of 2,200 players per year in over 25 communities in Massachusetts.
Behn earned her first college coaching post in 1997 at Framingham State where she turned a struggling program from a last-place team into contenders for the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) title within a year. Also the head coach of the women’s soccer team, Behn guided the Rams to the 1999 MASCAC Championship and their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. She was named the 1999 MASCAC Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year.
Behn was named the head coach at NE-10 rival Franklin Pierce in 2000 where she took the women’s basketball program from a 14th-place finish in 2001 to a NE-10 Tournament bid in 2002. She left the post after the 2001-02 season and shortly after gave birth to twin boys.
Anxious to coach again while raising four children, Behn moved on to her alma mater, Foxboro H.S., in 2004 where she guided the Warriors to the MIAA Tournament in each of the last six seasons, which included appearances in the South Sectional semifinal in 2007 and 2010. She was named The Sun Chronicle Coach of the Year in 2010.
“Sarah was on course for a long career coaching at the college level until she paused to raise her four children,” Skinner added. “We believe she’s back doing exactly what she was meant to do.”
A four-year player at Foxboro H.S., Behn was an All-American in both soccer and basketball. She set the Massachusetts career scoring record as a senior with 2,562 points and remains among the top 10 career scorers in the state.
Behn was named the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior. Also a standout goalkeeper on the soccer team, she set a national high school record with more than 50 shutouts.