The Boston University women’s basketball team has a new leader behind the bench heading into the 2021-2022 season. As the ninth head coach in program history, Melissa D’Amico is filling the shoes of Marisa Moseley, who took a head coach position at the University of Wisconsin after spending three seasons with the Terriers.
D’Amico was a center at the University of Notre Dame during her collegiate career, but her love for the game did not stop there. Her most recent basketball stint was at Wake Forest University, where she served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the women’s team. Before that, D’Amico spent three years in New Haven, Connecticut as an assistant coach at Yale University.
Now at BU, it seems her coaching career has come full circle — her first position was at Colgate University, a Patriot League rival.
“Being back in the Northeast is a dream come true,” D’Amico said in a press conference April 26. “To be able to establish roots in a community and a city and excitedly, the league I started my career in … really excited just to be back in the Patriot League.”
BU Director of Athletics Drew Marrochello said he was excited to add D’Amico to the program at the press conference.
“[D’Amico] has a great reputation across this industry,” he said. “We like the fact that Wake [Forest] made the tournament last year and she was instrumental in their success … Most of all, we liked her.”
Marrochello also noted D’Amico’s “outlook on community responsibility” as a founder and president of the non-profit Play BOLD: A group where coaches and athletes bring supplies to underprivileged communities and empower young people through athletics.
As the team moves on to a new chapter, Marrochello said the work Moseley and her staff did before their departure “was nothing short of remarkable.”
Junior guard and one of the team’s statistical leaders this season, Maggie Pina, said she’s optimistic the transition to a new coach will be seamless.
“Coach Mo left us in a great place and Coach D’Amico just wants to build on what was left behind so the transition shouldn’t be too bad,” she said.
The head coach will also lean on her own experiences to continue this line of BU success: D’Amico played professionally in Europe and Asia for five years post-graduation, granting her a well-rounded past that will potentially aid her in guiding the Terriers to future victories.
In making her decision to join the basketball program and BU itself, D’Amico pointed to the hard-working environment and internship opportunities for players once they graduate.
“What I do love about BU especially, is that it’s a place that attracts high-achievers and fosters a culture of excellence,” D’Amico said. “Our culture will be one that is always constantly pursuing excellence on the court, in the classroom and in the community.”
Pina said D’Amico’s enthusiasm for both the team’s athletic and personal pursuits has already shone through in her first few interactions with the team.
“She seems really great, a really genuine person, really excited about not just basketball but all parts of our lives,” Pina said. “Just really seems involved and excited about everything.”
Throughout the past season, the Terriers found great success during a year made difficult by COVID-19 restrictions and other drawbacks. The squad finished out the regular season with a 10-2 record and brought that momentum to the Patriot League Tournament. BU ultimately lost in the championship game against Lehigh University, but the 2020-2021 campaign proved to be full of wins regardless.
D’Amico is looking to pick up right where the Terriers left off as she and the team embark on this new stage of Terrier basketball.
In terms of how the physical play of BU basketball may change, Pina said D’Amico pointed to picking up the pace and implementing more man-to-man defense in her initial communication to the team.
But first, however, the head coach is focused on building connections with her players, D’Amico said.
“What I told them, even from our first Zoom, was I know they did not choose me as their coach and their recruiting process looked very different, but I 1,000% chose them,” she said. “I’m just really, really excited to grow together, to serve our community together in love and to build a legacy that goes far beyond basketball.”
Charles Moore contributed to the reporting of this article.