Morristown, N.J. (March 15, 2017) – CSE's women's basketball team soared beyond expectations this year. Despite losing their coach just days prior to the start of the season, our Eagles managed to advance to the semi-finals of the NEAC, North Eastern Athletic Conference, for the first time in the school's history.
"90% of this success has to do with Coach Nikki," says Jasmine Poole, a senior English major.
She transferred to CSE last year and was named to the NEAC Second Team All-Conference after her impressive showing this season.
"[Coach Nikki] always encouraged us to spend time together, build relationships and made us a stronger team," says Poole.
Before suddenly transitioning from assistant coach to head women's basketball coach at CSE, Coach Nikki, or Nicosia Henry, played Division I basketball at Seton Hall University then transferred to Montclair State University for her final two seasons. While at Montclair, Henry was named NJAC Defensive Player two years in a row, MVP of MSU Holiday Tournament, and NJAC Player of the Week in both seasons. This extensive experience has helped Henry connect with her players because she's been in their position.
"She'd get in the plays, work with us and show us what to do," says Rakiyah Sellers, a freshman instrumental in helping the team move beyond the playoffs. "I'm a visual learner and that really helped me."
This type of individualized treatment made all the difference in a season otherwise fated for failure.
Sports Information Director, Michael Maglietta, believes that the women performed so well because of Henry. He says, "with the turnover in coaching just a few days before the season started, Coach Henry stepped in and connected with the girls instantly."
However, Henry credits her assistant coaching staff, Dennis Harrington and Xavier Fuller, with helping her build a positive and affirming atmosphere.
She says, "Coach Harrington and Coach Fuller really bonded with the girls beyond basketball. The key to success is forming a relationship and building the girls up without breaking them down."
Unlike other schools, CSE devotes massive amounts of personalized attention to each player and the coaching staff truly cares about each person on the team.
As Henry says, "We care about [our players] not just as athletes but as human beings. I want to be a life coach for them, not just a coach for the season."
If you're considering coming to CSE for athletics, then take Sellers's advice and "join the program because it's nothing but up from here!"