Kraft promoted at Shenandoah

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Shenandoah athletic director Doug Zipp announced Monday that Melissa Kraft has been promoted to head women's basketball coach.

Kraft, the Hornets top assistant this past season, becomes the 11th head coach in program history. She succeeds C.K. Calhoun, who was hired as an assistant coach at D-I Lafayette two weeks ago.

"Melissa is a bright young coach who is destined for great things," Zipp said. "I have been impressed with her since the first time we met. She embraces the Division III ideals, knows how to win and is a great fit for Shenandoah.

"Watching her with the team this year and working with her on involvement in several projects in the department showed me that she would be an excellent head coaching candidate one day.

"When C.K. resigned, I knew that we didn't have to conduct a national search because we had the perfect candidate already on staff. President Fitzsimmons completely agreed with me and so we moved quickly to promote Melissa."

Kraft, who played collegiately at Drew, came to SU in August to be Calhoun's full-time assistant after previous coaching stops at Plattsburgh State, Vassar, the University of Rochester and her alma mater.

Her two years at UR, in which the Yellowjackets won a combined 39 games and made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013, was her third coaching stop in four years.

The Staten Island, N.Y. native earned her Master of Science Degree in Higher Education from Rochester in May 2013 and served the department as the Game Management Coordinator during that time as well.

From 2009-11, she was an assistant coach at Vassar after serving one year as an assistant at Plattsburgh.

She began her coaching career at her alma mater in 2008.

At Vassar, she coached a total of four players that earned first team All-Liberty League honors and was part of a coaching staff that earned LL Coaching Staff of the Year accolades in 2011.

Vassar also advanced to the NCAA Tournament that season.

"I am very excited for this opportunity," Kraft said. "I just want to thank Doug and Dr. Fitzsimmons for taking a chance on me.

"I have long had a professional goal of becoming a Division III head coach and I am ecstatic to become the next head coach of this program.

"We have a great group of incoming student-athletes to add to our returning class, and I can't wait to get started working with them to continue our goal of winning an ODAC championship." 

As a student-athlete, Kraft played both basketball and softball for the Rangers, earning MAC All-Freedom honors on multiple occasions. In 2009, Drew honored her as a member of its Athletic Hall of Fame Team of Distinction for an ECAC basketball championship captured in 2004.