BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball head coach Phil Stern announced the completion of his staff for the 2013-14 season, with the additions of Rich Conover, Taryn Christian and Marisa Crane during the offseason. Conover and Christian, who make their returns to the America East Conference, will join Carlee Cassidy as assistants for the black and gold, while Crane will serve as the squad's Director of Basketball Operations.
Conover returns to the league after four seasons as the head coach of Division II Le Moyne. During his time in Syracuse, N.Y., Conover served as the Coaches Council Chair, bringing forth ideas and concerns to the program's Athletic Director.
In 1999, Conover began a four-year stint as an assistant coach at Binghamton, where he helped the Bearcats transition from a Division II institution to Division I. During the 2002-03 campaign, Conover was named the acting head coach for the final 16 games of the year and earned the head coaching job following that season's end.
Conover spent five seasons (2003-08) at the helm of the Bearcats, posting a 74-87 overall record, including a 62-55 mark in league play. The Yonkers, N.Y., native registered a seven-win improvement in his first full season as the head coach, the 18th-best improvement in the nation that year, en route to earning America East Women's Basketball Coach of the Year recognition.
"Rich is one of the best defensive minds in our game," Stern said. "I coached against him for many years and am thrilled to be working with him."
Christian makes her return to the conference, having served as the Director of Basketball Operations at the University of New Hampshire for the 2011-12 season. She joins the Retrievers' staff after one season as the Director of Basketball Operations at Towson University, where she organized all the team's scheduling and travel plans, in addition to coordinating the Tigers' camps, clinics and community service initiatives.
Chrisitan was a four-year member of the Northeastern University women's basketball team from 2007-11. Prior to her graduation, Christian served as a student assistant coach and director of team travel during the 2010-11 campaign.
The Silver Spring, Md., native played at Springbrook High School, where she helped lead the squad to a 4A West Division Championship, regional championship and a 4A State Semifinal appearance in 2005-06.
"Taryn has worked in our conference and has an excellent knowledge of the state of Maryland," said Stern.
Crane was a four-year member and three-year starter for the Drexel University women's basketball program (2008-12). Despite battling injuries throughout her career, Crane finished the 2009-10 season as the Colonial Athletic Association's leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7) and dished out 134 assists – the best total by a Dragon player in 20 years.
During the 2012-13 season, Crane served as an assistant coach for Division III Albright College, which nearly doubled its win total from a year ago. A former point guard, Crane focused on the development of the team's perimeter players and aided in the guidance of freshman star Kelecia Harris – the Mid-Atlantic and ECAC Regional Rookie of the Year and a member of the DIII News' National All-Freshman Team.
Marissa comes highly recommended from her playing days at Drexel and her time spent last year at Albright," explained Stern. "She will be an asset in many ways to our program."
Stern enters his 12th season at the helm of the Retrievers' program and is 13 wins away from surpassing Sue Furnary for the most wins by a coach in UMBC women's basketball history. Stern returns four letterwinners and one starter from last year's squad, which earned its second-highest seed ever in the America East Tournament.