Former Temple University captain Nicole Chaszar completed her 14th season as the head women’s basketball coach at Western New England University in 2018-19. With a 226-155 career record (.593), she is the winningest coach in the program's 43-year history. Her teams have also won 65 percent of their conference games during her tenure.
The program has thrived with Chaszar at the helm: a school-record 13 consecutive postseason berths, including every Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament since 2008, increased community service involvement, and a trend of 12 winning seasons in her 14-year tenure.
Chaszar led Western New England to a historic 2018-19 campaign, as the Golden Bears captured their first conference title and made the program's first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Following a tough start to the second semester schedule, Western New England closed out the regular season with wins in eight of its final nine games. The Golden Bears defeated Salve Regina in the first round of the CCC Tournament, before claiming the title with road victories over UNE and Endicott in the semifinals and championship, respectively. Western New England finished the season with a 20-9 record, marking the fifth time in program history the Golden Bears reached 20 wins.
The Golden Bears were again one of the top teams in the CCC in 2017-18. Western New England went 17-10 overall, including 12-6 in league action, and reached the semifinal round of the CCC Tournament for the fourth straight year. Some of the top moments included consecutive thrilling road wins at Eastern Nazarene and Eastern Connecticut in early December, a 70-62 victory at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine on January 18th, and an overtime triumph against Gordon College five days later that served as Chaszar's 200th career win. Senior guard Dorothy O'Neill reached the 1,000-point milestone during the season and collected her fourth straight All-CCC honor.
Western New England posted its second straight 19-win campaign in 2016-17 and earned a trip to the CCC Championship game for the second year in a row after finishing 13-5 in league play. The season was highlighted by a nine-game winning streak from November 22-January 7, the program's longest since 2005-06.
Chaszar guided Western New England to its most successful season in over a decade in 2015-16, as the Golden Bears went 19-11 and secured the No. 2 seed in the CCC Tournament with a 13-5 record in league play. Western New England reached the championship game of both the CCC and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) New England Tournaments, finishing the season with its highest win total since 2005-06, Chaszar’s first season as head coach.
Three of Chaszar’s student-athletes were recognized as All-CCC performers in 2015-16, including senior forward Chelsea Vujs, who was also selected as the program’s first CCC Player of the Year since Jen Dabrowski accomplished the feat in 2007-08. Vujs also garnered regional accolades from the New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA), the ECAC, and d3hoops.com.
In 2014-15, Western New England enjoyed a bounce back year by going 17-11 after posting a 10-16 record in 2013-14 for the second-best turnaround in program history. The Golden Bears, who were picked to finish in sixth place in the CCC, wound up in fourth with an 11-7 conference slate as four losses came by a combined 14 points. Vujs became just the second Golden Bear to earn All-CCC honors in her first three seasons, Dorothy O'Neill was one of just two freshmen who made All-Conference and Sam McCann also received All-CCC recognition while also being selected for the New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) Senior All-Star Classic.
Last season also saw arguably the best comeback win in school history as the Golden Bears defeated crosstown rival Springfield College, 68-63, after being down 22 points in the second half. The Pride ended up in first place in their conference.
In 2012-13, Chaszar coached eight academic all-CCC selections and all-conference performers Emily Savino and Vujs, who were the player and rookie runners-up, respectively. Savino, who finished her four-year career ranked fifth in WNE scoring annals, repeated as a first-team all-CCC guard and won the department's Coca-Cola Female Athlete of the Year award in 2012 and '13. The team went 15-11 overall and 12-6 in league games for its best record in three seasons.
Chaszar surpassed Wendy Davis' school record of 105 coaching victories on Feb. 2, 2012, when the Golden Bears defeated CCC opponent Endicott, 60-47, on the road.
In 2010-11, WNE posted a 14-12 record, captured its own Golden Bears Hoop Classic with wins over Wilkes (Pa.) and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and qualified for the CCC Championship.
Western New England enjoyed a 15-10 record in 2009-10, which included a 7-6 mark for seventh place in the conference. One of the highlights of the season was a thrilling 97-91 victory in double overtime over Endicott.
In 2008-09, the Golden Bears were plagued by injuries, but still managed to compile a 12-13 record with an 8-5 mark for sixth place in the conference play.
It was a tough year with the death of beloved assistant coach Doug Pearson who passed away unexpectedly in February of 2009 after complications of cancer surgery.
One memorable moment was a stunning 59-58 upset over conference rival Regis on the road when Kailah Al-Darraji scored the last seven points of the contest, including a jumper with 15 seconds remaining.
Chaszar led her team to an 18-11 record in 2007-08 for the program's 10th consecutive winning season. The Golden Bears also tied for second place in their first season in the CCC with an 11-2 mark and finished second in the conference tournament.
Western New England ended its season by participating in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Tournament for the fifth time in program history.
In 2006-07, Chaszar directed the Golden Bears to a 15-12 record, which included an 8-3 mark for fourth place in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) in its final season in the league. Her team won 10 of its last 12 contests.
Chaszar enjoyed a successful rookie campaign in 2005-06 by leading the Golden Bears to a 21-7 record, which established a school mark for the most wins in program history.
Her team opened the season by capturing the Cardinal Classic with wins over Colby-Sawyer (which participated in the 2005 NCAA Division III Championship) and host Plattsburgh (N.Y.) State. Two games later, WNE defeated long-time nemesis Amherst in the Pioneer Valley Women's Hoop Classic for the first time since 1995.
Chaszar directed her squad to perhaps one of the biggest victories in school history with a 64-61 decision over six-time defending GNAC champion Emmanuel during Girls and Women in Sports Day at the Alumni Healthful Living Center. The stunning win snapped the Saints' remarkable 72-game regular-season conference winning streak dating back to 2000.
Western New England went on to finish third in the conference with an 11-5 mark and advanced to the semifinals of the GNAC Tournament before losing to Norwich. WNE then received its second straight invitation to the ECAC Division III New England Championship and edged Nichols 55-54 in overtime before losing to Emmanuel 74-71 in a semifinal battle.
For her efforts, Chaszar was voted the 2006 GNAC Women's Basketball Coach-of-the-Year.
Prior to joining the Golden Bears' staff, Chaszar served as an assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island for two seasons. Her coaching resume also includes two years as a graduate assistant coach at Springfield College and one season as an assistant coach at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
Chaszar, a native of Brackney, Pa., is a 2000 graduate of Temple, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in physical education and health teaching. Chaszar played guard for the Owls and was a four-time Atlantic-10 Conference All-Academic selection, a two-year captain, and the team MVP her senior season.
Chaszar earned her master of science degree in physical education with a concentration in Athletic Administration at Springfield College in 2003. While at Springfield, she assisted former URI great Naomi Graves in helping the Pride capture a pair of conference championships and invitations to the NCAA Division III Championship.
The Nicole Chaszar Coaching Record (14 years)
|2005-06||21||7||.741||10-2/3rd||GNAC & ECAC New England Semifinals|
|2007-08||18||11||.607||11-2/T-2nd||CCC Finals, ECAC New England Quarterfinals|
|2009-10||15||10||.600||7-6/7th||CCC Quarterfinals, 2 All-CCC players|
|2010-11||14||12||.538||6-7/T-7th||WNE Classic Champions, CCC Quarterfinals|
|2012-13||15||11||.577||12-6/T-3rd||2 all-CCC, 8 Academic all-CCC performers|
|2013-14||10||16||.385||7-11/6th||4 Academic All-CCC, CCC Quarterfinals|
|2014-15||17||11||.607||11-7/4th||CCC Semifinals, ECAC New England berth|
|2015-16||19||11||.633||13-5/2nd||Runner-up finishes in both CCC & ECAC New England Tournaments|
|2016-17||19||9||.679||13-5/3rd||CCC runner-up, Three All-CCC selections|
|2017-18||17||10||.630||12-6/4th||CCC semifinals, Two All-CCC selections|
|2018-19||20||9||.690||11-5/T-3rd||CCC champions, NCAA Tournament appearance|
|Totals||226||155||.593||141-76 (.650)||Program's leader in games coached and victories