For Courtney Anderson, joining the University of Maine women’s basketball’s coaching staff couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Greene native and former Black Bears guard is getting married in August and could not be happier about a homecoming.
“It’s really exciting for me and my fiance to get to move back,” she said. “It’s nice to be around friends and family.”
Anderson will also have plenty of time with her UMaine family this fall and winter, as she is one of three new assistant coaches joining interim head coach Amy Vachon’s staff, the school announced on Friday.
Anderson joins newcomer Garett Sherman and Jhasmin Player, who spent last season as UMaine’s director of basketball operations.
“I am very happy to welcome back Courtney Anderson to UMaine as an assistant basketball coach,” Vachon said in a release. “As a player, Courtney epitomized what a student-athlete should be and had an outstanding career as a Black Bear. Courtney understands our culture and what it is like to represent UMaine on and off the court. Courtney was a ‘coach’ on the floor and so it should come as no surprise that she has turned into a great collegiate coach. Our program, players and University are extremely fortunate that Courtney is returning to her alma mater.”
Anderson played at UMaine from 2011-2015 after leading Leavitt High School to a Class B state championship her senior year. Her career started as a non-scholarship player.
After her playing days ended, Anderson spent the 2015-2016 season as the director of basketball operations at the University of New Hampshire, where her sister Kristen plays, before stepping into an acting assistant coaching role. Last season, she worked as an assistant at Presbyterian College under former UMaine associate head coach Todd Steelman.
“Coach Steelman, he’s a great guy, it was his first time as a head coach and my first time as an assistant coach,” Anderson said. “It was all just a giant learning process for each of us.”
“It was a good experience that year when I was at UNH, getting to hang out with my sister,” she added.
Anderson, who is engaged to former Black Bears track and field athlete Trevor England, is looking forward to building relationships with a young, talented corps of UMaine players.
“The relationships are the most important thing,” said Anderson, who graduated from UMaine with a degree in elementary education. “I think it’s super important to create great relationships everywhere you go; not just in a business, not just with a team, but in life.”
She’s also excited about the corps the Bears have coming in, and the returning players, and to have the chance to work alongside Vachon.
“Coach Vachon, how much she has done for UMaine is fantastic,” said Anderson. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Anderson devoted many hours during her time at UMaine to reaching out to the community, working at camps to help develop and mentor young players.
In 2015, Anderson was picked to take part in the Women’s Basketball Coaching Association’s “So you want to be a coach” program.
Player stepped in as an acting assistant coach at UMaine in January, and in addition to her coaching duties, is now the program’s new recruiting coordinator. That role was previously filled by Vachon.
“I cannot express how fortunate the University of Maine Women’s Basketball program is to have Jhasmin Player as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator,” Vachon said. “Jhasmin returned to UMaine last year and made an immediate connection with our players. She was here six years ago when Coach [Richard] Barron began rebuilding this program and she was an integral part of the turnaround. Her experiences as a player at Baylor and professionally, in addition to her work ethic and character, make Jhasmin a perfect fit at UMaine.”
Player, who spent four years on the women’s basketball team at Baylor University, captained the Bears as a junior and senior, leading the team to a 2009 Big 12 championship and four NCAA tournament appearances.
She has played professionally in Poland, Portugal and Spain.
Sherman comes to UMaine from Western Wyoming Community College, where he led the women’s team to a 24-6 record and a Region IX North regular-season title.
Sherman also served as the men’s assistant coach at Gordon State College before becoming that program’s head coach. He previously coached at Allegany College in Maryland.