This past December, Hartwick College’s new women’s basketball coach received an up-close view of the program she’ll be running.
It’s no wonder Jackie Craft applied for the job.
As the head coach of the Sage Colleges, Craft’s team visited Lambros Arena on Dec. 5 and watched as the Hawks rolled to an 84-33 victory.
Hartwick athletic director Kim Fierke announced Craft’s hiring Tuesday. Craft will begin her duties Aug. 1.
Craft, the all-time winningest women’s basketball coach in Sage history, will take over Hartwick’s program from Missy West, who left to become the head coach at Division II Saint Leo University in May.
West steered the Hawks to 22 victories in each of the last three seasons as Hartwick made NCAA Division III tournament appearances in 2012 and 2014. The Hawks won 95 games during West’s six seasons at the helm.
“Our goal will be to build on the tremendous success the program has had in the past,” Craft said in a media release sent by Hartwick, “while creating and maintaining a culture that student-athletes can reach their full potential both on and off the floor.”
Following the loss to Hartwick, Sage won 14 of its next 19 games, including a 61-55 victory over the College of Mt. Saint Vincent in the Skyline Conference title game. It marked the first conference title in the program’s history and its first NCAA tournament appearance.
Sage, about an hour’s drive away in Troy, went 17-10 last season, one that ended with a 67-30 first-round tournament loss to Ithaca. The 17 wins represented a program record.
“We are so excited to have Jackie as the leader of our women’s basketball team,” Fierke said in the news release. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our already competitive program and her enthusiasm and passion will position this team for success in the future.”