LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - Following a national search, Siena College has found the person it hopes can take the women's basketball program to new heights. Ali Jaques was introduced as the eighth head coach in program history during a 2 p.m. press conference Thursday afternoon in the Marcelle Athletic Complex.
"I am humbled and honored to be named the head coach at Siena," said Jaques. "The tradition of Siena Basketball's greatness is one I am extremely excited to be a part of. To be able to start my head coaching career at such a welcoming place with great people to support me made this decision simple."
Jaques, 35, brings 14 years of Division I coaching experience to Loudonville, having served as an assistant coach at six different institutions. Her teams have posted four NCAA Tournament wins and three WNIT victories.
Jaques comes to Loudonville following a four-year stint at Northwestern in which she was the associate head coach the past two seasons under Joe McKeown. During her time in Evanston, Jaques served as the recruiting coordinator for a program which boasted the 14th ranked recruiting class in the nation in 2011 and the No. 20 ranked recruiting class in 2009 according to ESPN Hoopgurlz.
Jaques helped guide the Wildcats to a pair of WNIT Appearances including a spot in the Sweet 16 in 2009-10. That season, Northwestern increased its win total by 11 victories - tied for the 10th best turnaround in the nation and fourth among BCS schools - and made its first appearance in postseason play in 13 years. Additionally, she mentored and coached Amy Jaeschke who was the 27th pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky.
Her Northwestern teams also excelled in the classroom. During her four years in Evanston, Jaques coached 15 Academic All-Big Ten honorees and an Academic All-District selection.
"I am very pleased to welcome Ali as our new head women's basketball coach," said Siena College President Fr. Kevin Mullen. "She has a great track record as a recruiter and her teams have had consistent postseason success. I'm confident that she'll do very well at Siena."
Previously Jaques also coached under McKeown at George Washington from 2006-08. In her two seasons the Colonials went 55-11 and made consecutive appearances in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. George Washington was nationally ranked in both major polls for the majority of each season, and peaked to a No. 8 ranking in the AP Poll and No. 9 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll on Feb. 5, 2007.
"It is with great excitement that I welcome Ali to the Siena community," said Director of Athletics John D'Argenio. "Her experience as a coach is diverse. She has helped build programs and has assisted in leading nationally successful teams. Along with her coaching credentials, she brings national championship experience to Siena from her playing days at NYU. It only takes a few minutes in conversation with her to recognize her passion for coaching and her drive to lead a successful team both on and off the court."
Jaques has also served as an assistant coach at Dayton (2005-06), Furman (2002-05), Sacred Heart (1999-02) and Rider (1998-99). While at Dayton, Jaques coached under Jim Jabir who previously served as the head coach at Siena from 1987-90.
Jaques is a 1998 graduate of New York University, where she played both basketball and soccer and made the Dean's List all four years. Jaques led the Violets to the 1997 Division III National Championship, a 1996 Final Four appearance and two Sweet 16s. In her four years, NYU posted a 101-15 (.871) record. A two-time Coach's Award recipient, she was named a UAA Honorable Mention All-Association selection during her senior season.
A native of Rosemont, N.J., Jaques comes from a very athletic family. Her younger brother, Curtis, was a defenseman on the men's lacrosse team at VMI and currently serves an assistant coach for the Keydets. Her other brother, Parker, played football at the University of Rochester. Her sister, Sidney, recently concluded her senior season on the University of Scranton women's basketball team.
Jaques inherits a program which finished 12-17 overall in 2011-12 and tied for fourth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 9-9 record.