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Canisius's Scott Hemer announces women’s basketball coaching staff


Scott Hemer
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Canisius head women's basketball coach Scott Hemer announced Tuesday that veteran coach Linda Hill-MacDonald and Christina "Jazz" Weaver will join his coaching staff as assistant coaches while former Geneseo women's basketball player Lea Sobieraski will serve as the Golden Griffins' director of women's basketball operations.
All three newcomers will join with Megan Shoniker on Hemer's first coaching staff. Shoniker, who is entering her fifth season with the Canisius women's basketball program, will continue to serve as the Griffs' associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.
"When building a coaching staff, you are always looking to surround yourself with hard-working people who share the same passion for basketball and our student-athletes," Hemer said. "I am excited to introduce this group as our coaching staff because each person brings a lot of valuable pieces to our operation. I believe each of these coaches will serve as great representatives for Canisius and they will be excellent mentors to the student-athletes we recruit, develop and lead."
As the Griffs' associate head coach, Shoniker will continue to serve as the program's recruiting coordinator while also overseeing player development and compliance. The Rochester, N.Y., native will also continue to handle scouting of future opponents and assist with the program's academic progress.
"I have known Megan since she was 16 years old, and in my option, she brings the same level of hard work and intensity to the coaching ranks as she did when she was a player," Hemer said. "Obviously, she is extremely knowledgeable about the MAAC and that knowledge will be very helpful to myself and the rest of our staff as we get started in year one."
Hill-MacDonald brings 38 years of basketball coaching experience to Canisius' bench as she joins the program's staff after most recently serving as the head coach at Fredonia State for five seasons. After spending 10 years as a high school coach, Hill-MacDonald moved to the collegiate coaching ranks in 1980 when she took over the reigns at Temple University as the school's first full-time head women's basketball coach. A two-time Atlantic-10 Coach of the Year honoree, she went on to lead the University of Minnesota women's basketball program from 1990-97.
In 1997, Hill-MacDonald was named the first coach of the Cleveland Rockers, one of the eight original WNBA franchises. She left Cleveland after the 1999 season, a year where she coached the Eastern Conference in the WNBA All-Star Game, for the first of two stints as an assistant at the University of South Carolina. In between her time with the Gamecocks, she was an assistant with the WNBA's Washington Mystics, and then from 2005-12, she served as the head women's basketball coach at the University at Buffalo. After directing the Bulls' program, she headed to Fredonia State, where she posted three winning seasons and three berths into the SUNYAC Women's Basketball Championship in a five-year span.
"Linda Hill-MacDonald's resume speaks for itself," Hemer said. "The opportunity to have someone on my staff like Linda is invaluable. She has been a head coach at the game's highest level and she knows how to run a program. I have had the opportunity to coach against her and I have the upmost respect for her knowledge of the game and how she handles her responsibility as a coach, both on and off the court."
Weaver joins Hemer's staff after spending the 2017-18 season at East Carolina, where she served as ECU's director of women's basketball operations. A four-year letterwinner at UNC Greensboro, Weaver also served as director of basketball operations at Northern Illinois for a season following a two-year run as an assistant coach at her alma mater. As a player, Weaver played in 85 career games at UNCG and helped lead the Spartans to four-straight SoCon Tournament appearances. A native of Covington, Ky., she is a member of the Covington Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame.
"Being able to add a bright, young assistant coach like Jazz to our staff is important because she is someone who is able to directly relate with today's student-athlete," Hemer said. "She comes to us highly-recommended, and she has spent the last few years working hard in the operations director role at other mid-major programs. I think our team will find her energy exciting and they are going to look forward to working with her."
Sobieraski, a former player for Hemer at Geneseo, takes over the role of director of women's basketball operations after spending the previous two years as a graduate assistant on Daemen College's athletic communications staff. A 2016 graduate of Geneseo with a degree in business administration and a minor in marketing, Sobieraski played in 112 career games with the Knights and made multiple appearances in the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament. In her role with the Griffs, the Lockport, N.Y., native will be responsible for handling the team's day-to-day operations, which includes practice set-up, team travel plans, video film exchange and on-campus recruiting efforts.
"Being a former player of mine, I think Lea brings a unique perspective to our staff," Hemer said. "She is a hard worker and a bright young mind and I am looking forward to working with her again."
Hemer was officially named the ninth head coach in Canisius women's basketball history on April 23. He spent the previous 11 seasons as the head coach at Geneseo, where he recorded 218 career victories and took the Knights to five NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament appearances in the last eight seasons.

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