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Women’s Basketball Program Appoints Joanna Bernabei-McNamee to Head Coach

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 22, 2016) – The University at Albany is welcoming Joanna Bernabei-McNamee to the University family as the 11th head coach of the women’s basketball program.

McNamee, better known as “Coach Mac,” is native of Weirton, WV, and comes to UAlbany after three seasons as head coach at the University of Pikeville in Pikeville, Ky. During her tenure, she led the program to 63 wins and back-to-back National Tournament berths, including a program-record 26 victories and an NAIA Final Four appearance in 2016.

McNamee has also spent 10 years coaching at the NCAA Division I level, including four years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Maryland from 2003-2007. The Terrapins won the National Championship in 2006.

“On behalf of the University at Albany, I extend a warm welcome to Joanna. Her track record of success at every level of the game – as a head coach, assistant coach, and player – makes her an ideal fit for our women’s basketball program,” said Robert J. Jones, President, University at Albany. “She is respected by her peers and is committed to building strong relationships both with our campus community and the community-at-large. We look forward to working with Joanna to bring our women’s team to the next level of excellence.”

Coach Mac
McNamee, better known as “Coach Mac,” comes to UAlbany after three seasons as head coach at the University of Pikeville. (Photo by Paul Miller)

“We are extremely excited to have ‘Coach Mac’ as our new women’s basketball coach,” said Mark Benson, UAlbany Athletic Director. “She personifies the principles and values that are at the core of Great Dane athletics. Continuing the success of our women’s basketball program, on and off the court, was paramount in our search.”

McNamee is replacing Katie Abrahamson-Henderson “Coach Abe,” who left for Central Florida earlier this month, after leading the Great Danes to a fifth consecutive America East Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. The program made history last season, defeating No. 5 Florida for its first-ever Division I NCAA Tournament victory.

“I’m looking forward to taking what I have learned to this level and it’s nice that the program here already has an established mindset and culture that I will continue to grow,” said McNamee. “Coach Abe is such a great person and a great coach, and I look forward to following in her footsteps and doing a spectacular job here with the Great Danes.”

She and her husband, Joe McNamee, have two sons, Luke (9) and Caden (8).

McNamee earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology in 1997 from West Liberty State and a master's degree from Eastern Kentucky in sports administration in 1999. At West Liberty, she was a Division II All-American in basketball.

To learn more about Coach Mac, or the UAlbany women’s basketball program, view this press release from the University’s athletics department.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.