A headshot of Ashley Langford. She will be the new head coach of the Stony Brook women’s basketball team. PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMES MADISON ATHLETICS

On Friday, May 7, Ashley Langford was introduced as the new head coach of the Stony Brook women’s basketball team in a press conference at Island Federal Arena. She vowed to commit herself not only to winning, but to ensuring the success and happiness of her athletes.

“I’m going to operate this program as a players’ program,” Langford said. “You guys, my players, are the most important pieces of this program. Whatever your dream is, I’m here to do that and my staff is here to support you through that. Our players are going to enjoy their time here.”

Langford began her basketball career as a guard at Tulane, where she retired as the career leader in assists. She has since been an assistant coach at four other schools, most recently at James Madison, where she helped lead the Dukes to the semifinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. She explained that the transition to Stony Brook would not be a challenge, because of the school’s strong sense of community.

“Everything on paper lined up, but that last piece for me was all the people here,” she said. “I need to feel that connection with our players, the administration, with our coaches. That is exactly why I’m here at Stony Brook … I can’t wait to grow and have you guys grow with me.”

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Langford replaces Caroline McCombs, who departed Stony Brook for George Washington this March after leading the Seawolves to their first NCAA Tournament appearance. Last year, Stony Brook ranked fourth in the nation in points allowed per game, and Langford plans to maintain that level of success with an aggressive brand of basketball.

“I cannot stand watching other teams score,” Langford said. “We’re going to defend and we’re going to rebound and we’re going to run. We’re going to be disruptive, we’re going to take away our opponents’ strength.”

President Maurie McInnis and Director of Athletics Shawn Helibron also spoke briefly, and both expressed their certainty that Langford will continue the winning culture at Stony Brook. Now that the program has reached the NCAA Tournament, Helibron expects a continued standard of excellence.

“Our goal is to win every year,” Helibron said. “That’s it. I want [championship banners] to go all the way around Island Federal Arena. But we have to have coaches and student athletes who believe in what we’re building at Stony Brook … I am one hundred percent confident that we have found that person in Ashley Langford.”

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McInnis took time to recognize the excitement the women’s basketball team has brought Stony Brook during a challenging semester and gave Langford another vote of confidence.

“Ashley Langford has the focus and energy to help us continue our successful journey,” McInnis said. “She has a proven ability to build on excellence. She recognizes how to cultivate and develop new talent with spirit, teamwork and pride.”

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