July 19, 2017

Gaining Wealth of Experience in Assistant’s Role, Morey Primed to Guide Tiger Women’s Hockey

MORE TO COME: Cara Morey surveys the action during her six-year tenure as assistant coach for the Princeton University women’s hockey team. Morey was recently named as the head coach of the program, succeeding Jeff Kampersal, who left Princeton to guide the Penn State women’s hockey team. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

Cara Morey had never coached at the college level before joining the staff of the Princeton University women’s hockey team in 2011.

Over the last six years, Morey gained a wealth of experience, being involved in every phase of the operation under the tutelage of head coach Jeff Kampersal.

“I have been really lucky because Jeff kept giving me a lot more and more responsibility over the last few years so that I could be prepared if and when a head coaching opportunity ever came up,” said Morey, who was eventually promoted to associate head coach.

“I got to be really involved in practice planning, running drills on the ice, and going through video sessions so I was pretty fortunate that way. I was also the recruiting coordinator.”

When Kampersal recently left Princeton after 21 years to guide the Penn State women’s hockey team, Morey jumped at the opportunity to succeed Kampersal as the head coach of the Tigers.

“I had been considering options for for the last few years, jobs would come up but I really wanted it to be the right fit before I left,” said Morey, 38, a 2001 graduate of Brown where she starred in field hockey and ice hockey.

“I knew I had wanted to be a head coach but it had to be the right fit so when he left, of course, my first thought was to become the head coach at Princeton, just because it was such a natural transition.”

It didn’t take long for Princeton to conclude that Morey was the first choice to succeed Kampersal.

“Basically they gave me a chance to interview for it without a lot of the outside distractions,” said Morey.

“I guess they determined I would be a good fit so it happened pretty quickly, which was awesome for me.”

It was an awesome feeling for Morey to get the nod. “It is incredible, I am so excited,” said Morey. “I feel super grateful because these jobs don’t come up very often. There are only 36 of them in the country so it is a dream come true.”

In a statement issued upon Morey’s hiring, Princeton’s Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan, a legendary women’s hockey player during her college career at Princeton, shared that excitement.

“Cara is a superstar in every sense of the word and we are thrilled that she will be our next head coach,” said Marcoux Samaan.

“She has played an enormous role in the many successes of the team over the past six years and I am confident that she will build upon these successes to provide the very best experience for our student-athletes. Not only is Cara one of the best technical coaches I’ve seen, she is a true believer in our motto of Education through Athletics and is 100 percent committed to developing her players on and off the ice.”

True to form, the energetic Morey has hit the ground running in her new role.

“It just keeps rolling; I need to find a good assistant to join Ashley [Kilstein] and I on our staff, that has been a priority, finding somebody who has the right priorities,” said Morey, who added former University of Vermont assistant coach Kelly Nash to her staff this week.

“Then it is recruiting as usual; it is that time where we are trying to find the next Tigers that come in.”

The current Tiger players along with others in the Princeton community have given Morey a vote of confidence as she takes the helm.

“As soon as it was announced that Jeff had taken the job, I reached out to all of our current players and all of our recruits,” said Morey.

“Once I was announced as head coach, I started reaching out again, letting them know that. The support that I got was so overwhelmingly positive. I was really humbled at how many current players, former players, alumni, professors, and everybody just reaching out in support of me.”

Morey isn’t planning to make drastic changes as she succeeds Kampersal.

“I think there is going to be a level of comfort for them, where it is not going to be too drastically different,” said Morey, who helped lead Princeton to the 2016 Ivy League championship and to the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals five times and most recently the ECACH semifinals this past season, when Princeton went 20-10-3.

“Our preparation and method will probably stay similar but we are going to tweak some stuff a little bit more to fit my personality.”

In Morey’s view, the winning personality exuded by her returning players is a major asset.

“We have established such a great culture of excellence right now at Princeton,” said Morey.

“I am lucky as a new head coach that I get to step into a culture that is so well established and so familiar to me and the players are familiar with my style. We lost a monstrous senior class but we have some awesome freshmen coming in who are going to add the depth that we need and we are looking for.”

With a core of returning stars featuring skilled forwards Karlie Lund and Carly Bullock, along with star goalie Steph Neatby and standout defenseman Stephanie Sucharda, the Tigers appear poised to maintain that level of excellence under their new head coach.

“I am excited about the future,” said Morey. “I am pretty process-oriented so I try not to focus on the outcome. The expectations are that we are giving everything we have every single time we touch the ice. I think good things will happen.”