A new face is taking over the women’s basketball program but the core philosophies of the team should remain the same.

Joe Frager was announced as the new head women’s basketball coach last week, replacing Dianne Nolan, who led the Stags for 28 years.

Replacing an accomplished coach is always hard, but when that coach was also the longest tenured employee in University history and a respected coach throughout the D-I level, the task is even more difficult.

However, Fairfield appears to have made the right choice in tabbing Frager as Nolan’s successor.

While Frager has yet to prove he can win at this level, he has enjoyed success as a head coach at each of his previous stops with state and national championships at a high school and D-II school, respectively.

Success isn’t everything though. While Nolan certainly enjoyed numerous victories, she was equally important off the court.

Every senior she coached at Fairfield graduated with a degree on time. She was also active in the community and a mentor in the Ignation Residential College, all while balancing a family life.

After listening to Frager his first day, it seems he looks to accomplish much of the same.

Like Nolan, he wants to win, but more importantly he wants to win the right way.

He emphasized how hard he expects his new team to work on the court, while also striving for excellence in the classroom and becoming a positive presence in the community.

He aims to continue Nolan’s work on and off the court.

In the introductory press conference, University President Fr. Jeffery von Arx commented on how important a role a coach plays in the development of the students. Von Arx was looking for someone to continue where Nolan left off.

He found that man in Frager.

The similarities between Frager and Nolan don’t end there. Besides both coaches applying Jesuit ideals in training of student-athletes, they share core basketball philosophies.

Frager preaches playing tough defense, protecting the ball and taking high percentage shots.

Last year, the Stags also relied on their defense, as they used turnovers to push the ball and lead to their offense.

While he would like to run when they are able, the emphasis on defense remains the same.

Nolan left knowing that her team was in good shape to continue its success. Now she can know that they are in good hands as well.

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