Eastern Nazarene women’s basketball coach Sacha Santimano draws up a play during a game in the 2020-21 season. Santimano will be the next head coach at Bowdoin College. Photo provided by Bowdoin College

BRUNSWICK — When Bowdoin College announced last month it was seeking a new women’s basketball head coach, Sacha Santimano didn’t hesitate to apply.

“Bowdoin is a perfect package for me, what they do with student-athletes, and the culture that has been created is impressive,” said Santimano, who was coaching at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts.

The opportunity then became reality.

Bowdoin on Wednesday announced it had hired Santimano as its next next women’s basketball coach. Santimano, 39, replaces Adrienne Shibles, who accepted an offer to coach the Division I Dartmouth College women’s basketball team. Shibles won a program-best 281 games in 12 seasons at Bowdoin.

“When you think of Bowdoin, they are the standard in everything they do,” said Santimano, who went 138-107 in 10 seasons at Eastern Nazarene. “The way they handle everything with class, other institutions seem to follow their lead. I am honored and humbled to be in this position. … I hope I can be consistent on the level that (Shibles) was, on and off of the court.”

Eastern Nazarene women’s basketball coach Sacha Santimano talks to her players during a game in the 2020-21 season. Santimano will be the next head coach at Bowdoin College. Photo provided by Bowdoin College

Eastern Nazarene competes in the Division III New England Collegiate Conference. Santimano earned conference coach of the year honors twice at Eastern Nazarene, in 2019-20 and 2011-12.

“Sacha has demonstrated an exceptional ability to position members of her program for success both on and off the court, and her drive to excel and unwavering commitment to enhancing the academic, athletic and overall experience of her players will be a wonderful addition to the Bowdoin community,” Bowdoin athletic director Tim White said in a statement. “I am excited to welcome Sacha as our head coach of women’s basketball at Bowdoin.”

Born in India, Santimano grew up in Lansing, Kansas. She is a 2003 Dakota State University graduate, and later earned a master’s degree in teaching from the University of the Cumberlands (Williamsburg, Kentucky). 

She has previously held assistant coaching positions at the University of St. Mary’s in Kansas, University of the Cumberlands, and Asbury University, also in Kentucky. She was named the interim head coach at Allen Community College in Kansas in 2010, before securing the head coaching job at Eastern Nazarene in 2011.

Sacha Santimano is the new women’s basketball coach at Bowdoin College. Photo provided by Bowdoin College

It was at St. Mary’s in which her coaching career started.

“An assistant stepped down and I was thrust into the role, that’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do,” said Santimano, who was 21 at the time.

Santimano takes over a program that has gone 87-7 over the past three seasons, including consecutive Division III national championship game appearances. She will be the seventh head coach in the 46-year history of the program, and just the fourth since 1983.

“Investing in the student-athletes is for sure my biggest philosophy, along with representing what the school is about,” Santimano said. “Finding that niche and bringing in the best of the best that we can, that’s what this is all about. I’m a tireless worker who won’t quit until we reach our goals,” she said. “I think the biggest thing I’ll need to emphasize is patience. This will be a process with our minds geared toward the end goal.”

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