Dreams in Motion

With determination and heart, new Head Coach Cait Wetmore looks to drive the women’s basketball program forward.

“Dream big.” It’s common advice imparted to youth to stimulate excitement and promise. Pursuing that dream is a different story. It requires courage, commitment, sacrifice, and above all, resiliency.

Cait Wetmore dreamed of becoming a head coach of a women’s basketball program, and it took raw determination to realize that dream. Monmouth’s Director of Athletics Jennifer Sansevero named Wetmore the 10th head coach of the women’s basketball program in April. The New Jersey native previously served as associate head coach at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is elated to lead the Hawks basketball program.

“I am extremely grateful to President Leahy and the athletic administration for the opportunity to coach at this incredible institution,” said Wetmore, who also served as an associate head coach at UNC Greensboro. “When someone sees something in you, it’s empowering, and I want to thank Jen for her belief in me to lead this pro- gram. I’m ready to put my head down and give this program everything I have.”

The journey to fulfilling a dream can become a test of character, and Wetmore’s desire to coach was tested from the onset. After serving as a graduate assistant at Columbia University, she was named assistant coach in 2012 at her alma mater, Adelphi University. Wetmore was one of two paid coaches on the Panthers’ staff and earned a whopping $18,000 salary while living in Long Beach, New York.

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck Wetmore’s apartment complex, forcing her to vacate for months. Needing a place to live that was near campus so that she could continue coaching, but not wanting to trouble family and friends, Wetmore was forced to use her car as a temporary residence.

“I understand now that asking for help is not a burden,” she said. “People innately want to help people, and we all need to lean on each other from time to time. But that experience left no question of how badly I wanted to coach. I was all in.”

Every assistant coach—particularly at the Division II level—needs something to break their way to propel their career. Wetmore attended a professional development conference and caught the eye of Wendy Palmer, the head coach of Division I UNC Greensboro and a former WNBA player. One year later, Palmer had an opening on her staff and contacted Wetmore.

“I was stunned,” Wetmore recalled. “Networking was not my strength back then, but she liked my work ethic. I’m a grinder, and I think that’s what her staff needed.”

Athletic administrators often attended practices at UNC Greensboro. Sansevero was an assistant athletic director there at the time and took notice of Wetmore’s work habits and her impact on the program.

“I remember liking Jen because we were both from New Jersey,” Wetmore said. “We had the same type of attitude that was unique to those in North Carolina. Fast forward 10 years, and she called me about the position here. I couldn’t believe she remembered me, and I’m so humbled that she saw something in me.”

Observing something special in Wetmore has been a pattern. She’s extremely passionate, and her focus on learning about and understanding each player is an asset. Wetmore earned her master’s degree in clinical social work from Columbia and applies what she learned to coaching student-athletes.

“Clinical counseling trains you to understand people,” said Wetmore. “To be a successful coach, you need to be a good teacher. You have to understand how other people think and how they receive information. I have 15 athletes on the team, and none of them think or receive information the same way.”

When asked what attribute in a player appeals to her most, Wetmore responded, “a level of resiliency.” In other words, someone who has what it takes to pursue their dream.