Bethann Ord was hired as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Weber State University in 2011, tasked with rebuilding a program that had not won more than 10 games during each the three seasons prior to her arrival. While the program achieved an incredible amount of success in 2015-16 with an appearance in the WBI Tournament Championship game, a result of earning the program’s first post-season berth in 13 seasons, Ord and her staff are working hard to build a consistent winner at Weber State.
Ord grew up in a family that was immersed in college athletics. Her father, Murph Shapiro, was an incredibly successful Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Coach at Monroe Community College, while her mother, Annette, was the Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach at Nazareth College. “I grew up behind my father’s bench and practices, admiring his fire and desire to teach and inspire young lives,” said Ord. “My mom was a trailblazer because back then you did not see women coaching men’s sports. She always showed amazing strength and work ethic. Coaching was always a family affair in our home and I try to keep that same mindset.”
After finishing her playing career at UMBC, her desire to remain a part of the game led her to coaching. “The passion for the game and an opportunity to impact young lives and be a part of their growth in reaching all their goals and dreams are the reasons I became a college basketball coach,” said Ord.
Her first opportunity as a Division I coach came in 1990, working under one of her mentors, Pam Roecker, at Wagner College. “Pam taught me every aspect of building and running a program,” said Ord.
After two years at Wagner, Ord went on to serve as an Assistant Coach at several universities, including Pitt under another mentor, Kirk Bruce. In 2007, Ord arrived at the University of Louisville as an Assistant Coach working under Head Coach Jeff Walz, who Ord said, “is an amazing basketball strategist and recruiter, with the ability to empower his players and staff.” In her four seasons at Louisville, Ord helped lead the program to three NCAA Tournament berths, including an appearance in the 2008-09 NCAA Championship game.
After 19 seasons as a Division I Assistant Coach, Ord had gained a tremendous reputation as a recruiter, helping three different programs sign a combined total of seven recruiting classes that ranked in the top-40 nationally, and with developing players, including coaching the first pick in the 2009 draft Angel McCoughtry. She decided it was time for her to lead her own program. “Being a long-time Assistant Coach, I have been fortunate to learn from different coaching philosophies,” said Ord. She took over a Weber State program in need of a rebuild, where she has been focused on student-athlete success on and off the court through, as Ord said, “formulating a positive environment where our young ladies could learn, grow, and become the best versions of themselves on the court, in the classroom, and in the community.
Establishing a culture of success resulted in a historical season on the court in 2015-16, as Weber State won a program-record 23 games, earned the program’s first post-season berth in 13 seasons, and earned the program’s first post-season win in 23 seasons.
Ord is not only attempting to replicate the success of 2015-16, but build on it and she feels she has the pieces to do so. Ord said, “we have a special group of young women who are very diverse and extremely close. We have some great weapons here and our expectations are extremely high for our 2017-18 team. Bottom line is, we want to win!”
Ord realizes her work at Weber State is far from over, but remains confident in the on and off-court culture that has finally been established. “Since the day I walked on campus, every year we want to graduate our student-athletes and prepare them to be ready for the world,” said Ord. “My focus has been to build a winning culture, where the big-picture goal is cutting down nets.”
Written originally for CollegeInsider.com on January 9, 2018.