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Alison Montgomery named head coach of women's basketball

Alison Montgomery (at left) was named the 12th head coach in Bates College women's basketball history on June 3, 2015. (Courtesy of Naval Academy Athletics)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Bates College has appointed Alison Montgomery, assistant coach at the U.S. Naval Academy and former assistant at Bowdoin College, to become the 12th head coach in the history of its varsity women's basketball program, Director of Athletics Kevin McHugh announced on Wednesday, June 3. 

A Maine native and graduate of Bangor High School and Bowdoin College, she will begin the position on July 1.

"I couldn't be more pleased and excited about Alison taking over the reins of the Bates women's basketball program," said McHugh. "We had an extremely competitive pool of candidates for the position, but Alison was the consensus choice of all involved in the search process."

Montgomery, formerly Alison Smith, graduated from Bowdoin in 2005 and has spent the past seven years as an assistant coach, the first three at Bowdoin under head coach Adrienne Shibles and the past four at the Naval Academy under Stefanie Pemper. This is her first head coaching position.

"If anyone asked me what job I was pursuing, this is definitely it," said Montgomery. "A NESCAC job in Maine has been kind of my ultimate goal. This process and the job offer has been surreal. I'm thrilled to be at a place like Bates."

After receiving her master's degree in social work from Boston College in 2007, Montgomery began her coaching career as an assistant for Shibles, a 1991 Bates graduate, at Bowdoin. There she helped lead the Polar Bears to a 70-18 record over three years, including NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen appearances in both 2010 and 2011.

Montgomery then joined Pemper, her former head coach at Bowdoin, as an assistant with the Division I Mids, beginning with the 2011–12 campaign. In her four seasons at Annapolis, Montgomery helped the Mids to a cumulative 80-48 record, a Patriot League regular-season mark of 44-20, an 8-2 record in league tournament play and two NCAA Tournament appearances.

This past year was Montgomery's first as Navy's recruiting coordinator. She was also responsible for scouting, game planning and team preparation for eight of Navy's opponents, including film breakdown and analysis, practice planning, game strategizing and generating scouting reports.

Montgomery earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Bowdoin in 2005, following a successful playing career. Montgomery was a four-year starter for the Polar Bears, helping them win the NESCAC Championship all four years and compile a 108-9 record, with four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2004. She was the team's captain as a senior, and a two-time NESCAC All-Academic selection.

The Bangor native is one of three players in Bangor High School girls' basketball history to score 1,000 career points.

"I'm really passionate about the state of Maine and all it has to offer," Montgomery said from a family vacation in Stockton Springs, Maine. "I'm hoping that can be an asset in my recruiting, both in state and out, in terms of how strongly I feel about the area."

Montgomery will be the team's first new head coach since 1994, when Jim Murphy took over the program. Murphy retired in April after 21 seasons as one of the most successful coaches in Bates College's history. 

"Back in my playing days, Bates was my biggest rival," Montgomery said. "Adrienne Shibles is a close friend and obviously a Bates alum, and we've shared some jokes about that. If anything, I think that makes it more special. 

"I was taking a walk this morning with my son and mom, and we were all wearing Bowdoin sweatshirts. I said, 'This has got to change,'" Montgomery laughed. "I'm kind of excited about developing my own niche. I'll have no problems switching allegiances."