After Honing Coaching Skills on Dartmouth Staff, Micir Coming Home to PU Women’s Hoops Program
HOMECOMING: Addie Micir, center, surveys the action during her role as an assistant coach for the Dartmouth College women’s basketball team. Micir, a 2011 Princeton University alum and former star for the Tigers women’s hoops program, is coming home to serve as an assistant coach for her alma mater. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)
By Bill Alden
When Addie Micir arrived at Princeton University in the fall of 2007 and joined the women’s basketball team, she developed an instant rapport with head coach Courtney Banghart.
“She has been a mentor of mine since day one when I stepped on campus and she was my coach,” said Micir.
The 6’0 native of Newtown, Pa, went on to a brilliant career with the Tigers, finishing with 1,188 points, tied for ninth all-time when she graduated and earning All-Ivy honors in her last three seasons. As a senior captain, Micir became the first player in program history to be named Ivy League Player of the Year after leading the Tigers to their second league crown. As a junior, she was part of the program’s first- ever NCAA Tournament team.
After playing pro ball overseas for two years, Micir broke into coaching, joining the staff of the Dartmouth women;’s hoops program.
Even though Micir was working for an Ivy foe, Banghart, a former Dartmouth standout, remained in touch.
“We have been in constant contact, even when I was an opposing coach,” said Micir. “She was checking in on me, asking me ‘How are you doing?’ and ‘How can I help?’”
Last month, after longtime Princeton assistant Milena Flores decided to leave the staff, Micir heard from Banghart.
“She called me and said, we have always talked about theoretically would you ever want to come back here and coach,” said Micir.
“She said, theoretical is over, what do you think? We are going to be looking to make a sweet 16 run here, you played on the first NCAA tournament team. We want you come back to coach and she asked me what my answer was and I said ‘yes, yes, yes!’ It was an easy choice to make coming back here.”
While Micir is thrilled to be taking on the role as an assistant coach on Banghart’s staff, it was hard for her to leave Dartmouth.
“It was definitely bittersweet; professionally it is probably time to make a change,” said Micir, who helped Dartmouth go from 5-23 in 2013-14 to 15-12 last winter.
“Dartmouth was so, so good to me. I have a lot of friends up there; our players were just incredible people. The experiences I had up there are just awesome. It was such a happy day to be able to get the call home but then you have to make the other call. I talked to Coach Banghart first and I was so thrilled. I immediately called Belle (Dartmouth head coach Belle Noclanes) right after and she was so excited. Then she said ‘let’s talk about exit strategy here’ and it hit me, you can’t have the best of both worlds.”
Micir hit the ground running when she started her coaching career in the summer of 2013.
“Year one was a whirlwind for a lot of different reasons,” recalled Micir. “The program up at Dartmouth wasn’t where we wanted it to be and we had to start a building process there. That wasn’t something I was used to from my first time here. Hopping into recruiting was a little bit tough.”
That recruiting effort paid dividends as that group helped spark the Big Green’s resurgence.
“We put together a pretty good first recruiting class; they are the class that just graduated this year and they proved to be what we needed to start that turnaround at Dartmouth,” said Micir.
“I was a really young assistant coach and they just bought into everything I said and really trusted me in that. I told them when we had our senior dinner that I appreciated them for that because they set the tone for the rest of the people coming after them to do it.”
Micir also appreciates the lessons she has learned from head coach Noclanes over the last five years.
“She stretches you in every way,” said Micir. “She is super positive but she is still demanding. I learned a different way to coach. What I appreciated about Belle is that each year I had new roles on my plate. She didn’t want me to just settle and get comfortable.”
Getting stretched like that helped Micir hone her skills. “I could always teach by showing; that was something I had done my whole career,” said Micir.
“I got to do that a little bit my first year, I hopped into practice more. We were trying to raise the level of the program and show people what it was like to drill at a high level. I did more coaching and teaching by showing and now five years later, I am definitely more articulate in the way I can communicate the game and anticipate adjustments.”
Banghart, for her part, has seen Micir become a more well-rounded coach.
“I think Addie has grown in every measurable way,” said Banghart. “She has always been a coach on the floor. She has a high basketball IQ; she played every position on the floor for us when she was here. She is learning the business in terms of recruiting, the breadth and the depth that requires. She has become really good at that. She is also better with the game, how to actually break it down.”
In Banghart’s view, Micir’s Princeton background gives her a special perspective as she joins the Tiger staff.
“Addie is not a dynamic athlete, she is a great basketball player,” added Banghart.
“She brings a real headiness to our coaching staff. She has such a love for this program and wants to make sure she protects it by bringing in the best players. She is really motivated to do a great job on the recruiting front; she connects with people. Being a Princeton alum and experiencing the success that she has had, she is going to be a really valuable resource to the players. We are psyched to have her back. She was part of the first NCAA team and we would like her to be part of our first Sweet 16 team.”
Micir, for her part, is psyched to be back in Princeton. “I went to the Princeton Varsity Club banquet and I ran into so many familiar faces who just continued to say, welcome home, welcome home,” said Micir.
“As sad as the drive was, leaving Dartmouth, it was that much more excitement and happiness to be surrounded by the people at this place.”
Jumping into her new role, Micir is excited to get into the swing of things.
“It is recruiting season; it is always recruiting season, but especially now, we are about to hit the road in July,” said Micir.
“We are prepping for that. I am getting on the phone, reintroducing myself to a lot of my contacts. We are still putting our staff together. We are going to feel each other out a little bit. We have time to figure out what our responsibilities are going to be.”
With the Tigers coming off an Ivy League title campaign and boasting junior standout Bella Alarie, last season’s Ivy Player of the Year, along with a pair of sophomore stars in Carlie Littlefield and Abby Meyers, Micir can’t wait until it is time to get on the court with her new charges.
“It is quite a crew that I am coming into; they were my scout for the last five years,” said Micir.
“When we scout an opponent, we take a look at how can we attack them and that is great coming into coach them. I can tell them this is what other teams are saying about you and how are we going to make some of those growth opportunities and strengths and how are we going to hide some. It will be a good perspective.”
Micir is thrilled to have the opportunity to coach with Banghart and fellow assistant Carrie Moore, who previously served as Princeton’s director of basketball operations from 2008-10.
“We joke all the time about how much we have grown,” said Micir. “I am excited to learn from them. It is so good to be home, it is the best feeling.”