Freshmen aren’t the only new talent the Harvard women’s basketball team picked up for its upcoming season.
Crimson coach Kathy Delaney-Smith has also recruited Lindsay Hallion ’08 and Juanise Cornell as new assistant coaches. Though it is the first year of coaching for both, they bring impressive resumes to their new positions.
Hallion played for Harvard from 2004-2008, serving as co-captain her senior season.
“It’s probably one of my greatest joys just to be able to [recruit] players and student-athletes that I love, that I respect, and that have the passion not only for basketball but also [for]the program, that Lindsay Hallion has,” Delaney–Smith notes.
Hallion’s play on the court earned her the most valuable player award for the Crimson as well as second-team all Ivy League honors in 2007 and 2008. She was elected to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District second team and earned the Harvard Pride Award her senior year.
After graduation, Hallion worked for the FBI in criminal investigation and played basketball professionally in Europe.
“[Working for the FBI] was awesome … it’s a great organization and a great place to work,” Hallion says.
Although Delaney–Smith felt that Hallion would have been a good choice for an assistant coach all along, she thought Hallion should obtain some real-world experience before deciding on coaching as a profession.
“I had an [job] opening [before], and I thought hard about hiring Lindsay the first time around, but I just felt she needed a year of experience, no matter what it was,” Delaney-Smith says. “I think it’s great that she has both the FBI and the European experience.”
Hallion agreed with Delaney-Smith’s sentiments about taking time off before returning to the Crimson.
“The lessons I learned playing basketball in college and playing for [Delaney-Smith] definitely prepared me for the real world, [and] the professional world,” Haillon says. “But I think it was important for me to have that gap before coming back to basketball.”
In addition to coaching Harvard women’s basketball, Hallion is currently the assistant athletic director at Westwood High School, her alma mater and where Delaney-Smith made her name as a high school coach.
Current Crimson assistant coach Kelly Finley brought Cornell to Delaney-Smith’s attention during her search. Finley and Cornell were teammates at Colorado State.
“Kelly had mentioned [Cornell] to me, and then I researched her,” Delaney-Smith says. “[She] got rave reviews from everyone I spoke with,”
Delaney-Smith considers Cornell’s experience playing in a different area of the country—in addition to playing at two colleges—as bringing a fresh perspective.
“She was a very good player at Colorado State and graduated at Colorado Christian, so she’s seen the whole network and different approaches to the game,” Delaney-Smith says.
While at Colorado Christian University, Cornell led the team in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game. Cornell’s presence helped the Cougars win the Rocky Mountain Conference Championship, which contributed to her Central Region Player of the Year award in 2010.
“Anytime we can get an experience that is different from here, it’s always quite valuable,” Delaney-Smith says.
Cornell says the transition from player to coach in a short period of time is a challenge, but one that she is ready to take on.
“Being a player, you’re used to people telling you what to do and just doing it without question,” Cornell says. “As a coach, you have to start thinking about each player individually. It’s a different type of care. For me, especially with the kids at Harvard, they’re so driven and they’re so knowledgeable about basketball, that it makes [the transition] a lot easier, so I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”