An unprecedented 30-0 regular season for the women’s basketball team has not only led to plaudits from the sporting world, but has led to Fortune Magazine naming head coach Courtney Banghart as one of the world’s greatest leaders in the magazine’s second annual list.
Coach Banghart was ranked 43rd onthe list by Fortune Magazine, making her the highest ranked leader in women’s sports, and the third ranked individual in the sports industry, behind only former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James.
Coach Banghart was ranked ahead of well-known names such as Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, Jimmy Fallon, host of theTonightShow, and most notably, Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner.
It was not enough to be brilliant, admirable, or even supremely powerful.” The magazine stated,"Coach Banghart was a perfect fit for the following description of “effectiveness and commitment and for the courage to pioneer.”
Coach Banghart took over an unsuccessful program eight years ago, and in that time, she has earned a 169-67 record and a 92-17 record in the Ivy League. She has guided the team to five Ivy League Championships in the past six years as well as its first ever NCAA Tournament win this season, where the team was seeded 8thand defeated Green Bay in the first round before falling to top seed Maryland in a heartbreaking defeat, their first and only of the season.
Banghart said she was shocked to receive the news.
"I was on the way back from a recruiting trip, and you can imagine I was literally speechless," Banghart said in an interviewon Saturday. "I was so grateful to be mentioned in the same breath as some of those people."
Coach Banghart’s plaudits do not end just there, as she is a front-runner in the race for the Naismith Trophy Coach of the Year award and has already been named the Ivy League Coach of the Year for her success this season.
Members of the Princeton women's basketball attested to the dedication and intensity that Banghart brings to the sport, and the deep connection she makes with her players.
"Coach Banghart is an incredible leader. She is able to get each person to buy into the success of our team and to bring her best each day," junior guard Michelle Miller said about her coach. "Her constant energy and motivation have allowed us to grow as a program and to have an incredibly successful season this year."
Junior forward Annie Tarakchian spoke to Banghart's ability to coach her players on an individual level.
"She gets to know you,[and] genuinely cares about you and the team", Tarakchian said. "By getting to know you, she knows how you work and respond to feedback, and what feedback maximizes your potential."
Tarakchian did note that Banghart had the ability to be critical when necessary.
"Last year, before we left for [a road] trip, I was being super passive [in practice], not looking to score. She stopped a drill and ripped me," Tarakchian reminisced. She considers that particular interaction with Banghart critical in her development as a player. "After that moment, I really got into myself ... it really was the turning point in my career. "
According to Tarakchian, one of Banghart's great qualities is her ability to guide players both on and off the court.
"She's by far the most positive influence in my life," Tarakchian stated. "I’ve gone in and talked with her beyond the coaching standpoint. I can go and talk with her about my Junior Paper.She’s so much more than coaching."