Even as Addie Micir was working overtime at Jadwin Gym to sharpen her skills for the Princeton University women’s basketball team, she sensed that coaching was in her future.
“I come from a family of teachers. My parents are teachers, my grandmother is and so is my sister,” said Micir, a 2011 Princeton alum who was the Ivy League Player of the Year in her senior campaign.
“My father coached softball at Pennsbury and 9th grade football at William Penn. I had a knack for teaching and I love basketball. Coaching takes practice like anything else. Any chance I could get, I would help out at clinics or do individual workouts with players.”
Upon graduation, Micir took the chance to keep playing, competing for pro teams in Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
“The coaches told me that if I still had the itch to play I shouldn’t get into coaching,” said Micir, a native of Newtown, Pa.
“It was a great experience. The game is completely different, the lane is wider so you can’t bang as much inside. It is more of a finesse game. The players are very skilled, great passers and shooters. At Princeton, everyone is a go-getter and they don’t need to be pushed. Not every basketball player is like that and it was a really good experience to see that.”
But this spring, Micir got the itch to coach and hung up her sneakers. Within months, she was hired as an assistant coach at Dartmouth.
“My body was starting to feel old even though I am only 24,” said Micir with a laugh.
“You put a lot of stress on it in college and then I kept working out and playing. I had some nagging injuries. I decided it was time. I reached out to coach Banghart [Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart] and she was my mentor, filling me in on what I needed to do to get my name out there.”
Although Dartmouth was an archrival for Princeton during Micir’s playing days, she believes it is an ideal place for her to launch her coaching career.
“I had such a great experience with the Ivy League that I wanted to work in a league with smart kids and a good work ethic,” said Micir, who joins the staff of new head coach Bella Koclanes.
“I was looking at Patriot and Ivy programs. I saw the Dartmouth opening and I sent the coach an e-mail. We did our first interview on Skype when I was traveling in Budapest. Three days after I got home I went up for the interviews and they offered me the job while I was up there. It a great place for me.”
While Micir acknowledges that she is short on coaching experience, she believes her knowledge of the game puts her ahead of the curve.
“I was really versatile as a player; I played every position and saw the game from a lot of different positions,” said Micir.
“I wasn’t the greatest athlete so I had to learn and understand the game to beat other players. As a player I did as much as I could to prepare myself. Our coaches did a good job with the scouts.”
With wholesale changes around the Dartmouth program in the wake of longtime head coach Chris Wielgus retiring after a 6-22 campaign last winter, Micir and her new colleagues are learning together.
“The other coaches have been helping me with the business side, how a basketball program works; doing the recruiting, paper work, and things like that,” said Micir. “They are very energetic and helpful.”
Micir will be applying lessons she learned from her college career which saw Princeton rise from a 7-23 record her freshman season to going 50-9 over her last two years.
“It was the first time I hadn’t been successful in school or sports,” recalled Micir. “You see what your character is, everyone is strong-willed but you see how strong-willed you really are. Everyone is a good learner and independent. The Princeton coaches were so influential in my basketball career. The coaches each have different philosophies and I have taken what works for me.”
Now, Micir is dedicated to helping Dartmouth emulate Princeton’s rise up the Ivy ladder.
“I am excited to start at a program that was like Princeton when I got there,” said Micir.
“We have some good pieces in place, we are working on restructuring things and getting the girls to buy into the culture we are trying to create with work ethic, intensity, and knowing the fundamentals of what you need to be successful in the Ivy League. It is being prepared in everything you do; having things taken care of in the classroom helps you focus on the basketball court.”
This month, Micir is focusing on finding some new talent to grace the court for the Big Green.
“I am hitting the recruiting trail in July like everyone else,” said Micir. “We are getting everything together, evaluating talent in junior and senior classes and then we have our Big Green Academy. Then we will prepare for our kids.”
So far, Micir is enjoying everything about her new job. “I have wanted to be a coach for a while and the first few weeks have been phenomenal,” asserted Micir.
“It has been long hours but it is not your typical 9-5 job. I love what I am doing, we have fun as a staff. I see myself in this for the long haul.”