Coach Gaitley has always taken great pride in her current players, former players, and staff members playing a prominent role in camp. Here are a few of our outstanding camp coaches.
Associate Head Coach
Angelika Szumilo will be entering her seventh season as the Associate Head Coach at Fordham, and her 15th year overall alongside Coach Gaitley on the bench. She previously served as an Assistant Coach for Gaitley at both Monmouth and Long Island University.
At Fordham, Szumilo serves as the recruiting coordinator for both domestic and international recruits and is in charge of scheduling. She also works individually with guards, in addition to scouting opponents. Szumilo has played an important role in helping the Rams to four postseason appearances in six seasons, including the 2014 NCAA Tournament as the Atlantic 10 champions, and three straight 20-win seasons between 2012-15.
At Monmouth, where she coached for three years, Szumilo was part of a staff that led the Hawks to a 23-win season and a berth in the WNIT in 2010-11. The Stalowa Wola, Poland, native's responsibilities included international recruiting, team travel and working extensively with the backcourt players.
Prior to her time in New Jersey, Szumilo spent five seasons at Long Island on Gaitley's staff after enjoying a stellar playing career for the Blackbirds. She was a member of the staff of the 2006-07 squad, a team that went 22-9 and won the Northeast Conference regular season title and received the school's first ever WNIT berth.
The former Angelika Stec was an integral part of Long Island's success as a player from 2000-2002, leading the team to a pair of appearances in the Northeast Conference final and the 2001 NEC Championship.
Szumilo instantly became one of the team's top playmakers upon her arrival in Brooklyn. She started all 31 contests in 2000-01 and dished out 136 assists, the third-best single season total in school history. She averaged 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game and 13.7 points per game over three contests during the 2001 NEC Tournament, being named to the All-Tournament team. Szumilo was also selected to the All-Tournament Team following the 2001-02 season. She graduated in eighth place on the school's all-time assists list with 229.
A 2002 graduate of LIU, Szumilo earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Adopted Physical Education. She is married to Rafal Szumilo, and has an eight-year old son, Krystian, and a two-year old son, Daniel. The family resides in Ridgefield, N.J.
Head coach Stephanie Gaitley announced Sonia Burke as an assistant coach in July 2017.
"I've known Sonia for a long time during her time at Manhattan," Gaitley said, "She offers a great knowledge of the game and brings a wealth of experience. She is a kind and caring person who will be a great addition to the program and the Fordham community."
Burke, a 2001 graduate of Spring Hill College, is no stranger to the Bronx, having spent 13 seasons with Manhattan in various roles, including time as the interim head coach and six seasons prior as the associate head coach. She worked as both the recruiting and defensive coordinator and specifically helped to develop post players. Prior to her stint in Riverdale, Burke was an assistant coach at Saint Francis (PA) during the 2002-03 season in which the Red Flash won the Northeast Conference.
As Manhattan's defensive coordinator, Burke was responsible for a unit that set a program record with 140 blocks in 2015-16, including the program single-season records for blocks and steals. Amani Tatum, who accomplished the latter, also became the first Jasper to ever be named MAAC Defensive Player of the Year. Tatum became the 12th All-MAAC performer that Burke mentored during her time at Manhattan. During the 2010-11 season, the Jaspers ranked third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 50.9 points per game, while enjoying a school record 24 victories.
A native of Barbados, Burke served as captain of the Barbadian national team that captured goal at the 15th Caribbean Basketball Championships in 2000. At Spring Hill, Burke led the Badgers to the Gulf Coast Conference championship and an appearance in the NAIA Tournament that same year.
Burke graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor's degree in management and a minor in managerial accounting, later earning her Master's degree in public administration from Capella University in 2015.
Valerie Nainima enters her fourth year with the women's basketball program and first as an assistant coach. She had previously served as the team's video coordinator during her first three seasons.
"Players and people like Val only come around a few times during a coach's career," Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley said. "Val is arguably the best player I have ever coached. Her statistics and accomplishments speak for themselves. She has a great knowledge of the game as well as terrific people skills. Val will be an outstanding addition to our program both on and off the court."
Nainima hails from Domain, Fiji, where she had worked as a development officer and high performance manager for Basketball Fiji. She coordinated and launched the first Hoops for Health Workshop program for Fiji and the South Pacific; planned and managed the Tuckers Fiji Secondary Schools Championships; trained and mentored the Fiji National Under 19 teams to the 2014 FIBA – USP U19 Oceania Championships; and helped organize the inaugural 2014 FIBA – USP U19 Oceania Championships.
Coach Gaitley and Nainima's relationship dates back nearly 10 years when Gaitley recruited Nainima to attend Long Island University in Brooklyn, N.Y. Nainima made history for the Blackbirds, as she became the first player in Northeast Conference history to earn player of the year and rookie of the year honors in the same season while leading the nation in scoring for all freshmen (17.8 points per game). During her sophomore season, Nainima averaged 20.4 points per game and was the fastest player in LIU history to reach 1,000 career points.
When Gaitley left to take over the women's basketball program at Monmouth University, Nainima transferred to the University of South Carolina. After sitting out a year as a transfer, Nainima made an immediate impact during her junior year with the Gamecocks and averaged 17.3 points per game, which ranked fifth in the Southeastern Conference and propelled to her to Second Team All-SEC accolades. She then suffered an injury late in the summer before her senior season, but Nainima fought to come back for the final three months of her final year. She ended her career as one of the program's most prolific three-point shooters, standing eighth with 115 career triples, 10th with 340 career attempts and fourth in percentage (.338). Nainima graduated from South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and Marketing.
Nainima went on to play professionally in Germany for New Basket Oberhausen and spent three seasons with the team. She also coached an U17 team in the organization as well.
Director of Player Development
Samantha Clark, who had a successful playing career at Fordham, was named Director of Player Development for the Fordham Women's Basketball program in September of 2016.
A Second Team All-Atlantic 10 and Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team selection in 2015-2016, Clark enjoyed a phenomenal senior campaign, leading the Rams in scoring (12.5 ppg), and rebounding (9.6 rpg) while also averaging 2.4 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game and leading the team in field goal percentage (.503, 154-of-306). The 2016 Claire & Jack Hobbs Memorial Award co-winner as the school’s top female student-athlete, Clark started all 31 games and averaged a conference-best 37.2 minutes per game. She ranked 18th in the league in scoring, third in rebounding, tenth in blocks, fourth in field goal percentage, first in double-doubles and first in total rebounds. She also was forced to guard every team's top post player, and every time Clark shut that player down.
Nationally, Clark ranked 20th in minutes played per game (37.2), 22nd in defensive rebounds per game (7.0), 43rd in total rebounds (297), 29th in double-doubles (14) and 37th in rebounds per game (9.6).
Over her four-year career, Clark scored 1,263 points, which ranks eighth all-time, and grabbed 946 career rebounds, which ranks second. She is just the third player in program history to tally 1,200 career points and 900 career rebounds. Clark also blocked 149 career shots, which ranks third, and her career rebounding average of 7.2 rebounds per game ranks sixth. She was named to the 2013 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team, being named A-10 Rookie of the Week a school record five times in 2012-2013.
Clark, a member of the Fordham Leadership Academy as an undergraduate, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Communications with a concentration in New Media in May of 2016.
Director of Women’s Basketball Administration and Special Assistant to the Head Coach
Clare Berenato enters her fourth season with the women's basketball program and her second year as the director of women's basketball administration and special assistant to the head coach, after spending a year as the assistant director of basketball operations and also serving as an administrative assistant two seasons ago.
Berenato, a 2013 graduate of Seton Hill University, serves as the liaison for women’s basketball marketing, community outreach, and camps and clinics. She previously spent time at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa. as an assistant coach.
Prior to her time at Lackawanna, Berenato was a standout player at Seton Hill, twice serving as a team captain. As a senior, Berenato led the Griffins to an appearance in the WVIAC championship game, two years after helping her squad reach the Division II NCAA Tournament in 2009-10.
A Pittsburgh, Pa., native, Berenato also has extensive volunteer and community service qualifications. She graduated from Seton Hill University, Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Art in Communications, Entrepreneurial Studies and Sports Management. Berenato was named to the WVIAC Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and received the President’s Award for Service, which recognizes the exemplary service to the community and Seton Hill University.
Berenato received her masters degree in nonprofit leadership from Fordham in August 2016.
Director of Basketball Operations
Abigail Corning will be a familiar name to Fordham women's basketball fans of recent years, having played four seasons for the Rams from 2011-14, three under Coach Gaitley, and was announced over the summer as the program's new Director of Basketball Operations. Corning ranks fifth all-time with both 127 appearances and 107 starts, including all 98 contests over her final three years, and became the 17th player to score 1,000 career points in maroon and white, currently 10th all-time with 1,213 points, good for a 9.6 career average. She also ranks inside the top-10 for field goals made, three-point field goals made, three-point shooting percentage, assists, minutes, and rebounds.
Corning earned her MBA in Marketing at Fairfield University, working as a graduate assistant in Athletics Marketing and Promotions, before moving up to Marketing and Fan Experience Coordinator, a position she held for a little over one year before moving back to the Bronx.
"Abigail is one of, if not the, hardest working players I have ever coached. She has an incredible work ethic and her competitiveness is contagious. I'm looking forward to her carrying all those outstanding qualities to the coaching side."
It didn't take long for Scerbo to find full-time employment following his graduation from Fordham this past May, parlaying his part-time gig as one of the Rams' team managers last year into becoming the program's new video coordinator over the summer, following the promotion of Valerie Nainima to assistant coach. Scerbo had previously served as team manager for the men's basketball program during his first three years in the Bronx, before making the jump to women's basketball as a senior. Scerbo has coaching experience, as well, having served as head coach of Fordham Prep's freshman squad for the 2015-16 season.