Stephanie V. Gaitley
608-356 Career Record (32 Years)
Recorded 600th Career Win
144-86 Record at Fordham (Seven Years)
2013 & 2018 Metropolitan Coach of the Year
8 NCAA Tournament Appearances
Led her teams to 16 Postseason Appearances
Seventeen (17) 20-Win Seasons
Has 5 of Fordham’s 10 20-Win Seasons All Time
Has 5 of Fordham’s 6 Post Season Appearances All Time
Led 2013 Fordham Team to most wins in 30 years (26)
Previously coached at Richmond University, St. Joseph’s University, Long Island University (Brooklyn), and Monmouth University
Academic All-American & Hall of Famer at Villanova University (Class of 1982)
Fordham Women’s Basketball Recent Achievements:
2017-18 Season Record: 24-10
Ranked in the RPI Top 100 (75th)
Top 15 in Scoring Defense in the Nation (15th)
2013, 2015, 2017 & 2018 WNIT Appearances
2014 Atlantic 10 Champions
2014 NCAA Tournament Appearance
When Stephanie Gaitley inherited the Fordham women’s basketball program in 2011, the Rams had gone nearly two decades without a winning record and were just three years removed from a 0-29 campaign.
In just three seasons at the helm, Coach Gaitley transformed Fordham from a perennial doormat into a budding national power, with a 26-win season in 2012-13 followed by a 25-8 record and Fordham’s first-ever Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship. From 2012-2015, Gaitley’s Rams compiled three straight 20-win seasons and the 2016-18 campaigns brought numbers four and five. Before Gaitley arrived in the Bronx, the program had only ever had five 20-win seasons over 41 seasons.
Gaitley became the program’s all-time winningest head coach in February 2017, passing Kathy Mosolino with her 117th career victory in the Bronx, and finishing the year with 120 total during her tenure at Rose Hill. 24 more victories in 2017-18 extended her record to 144 victories in maroon and white, a season which culminated in her second Maggie Dixon Metropolitan Coach of the Year award, as presented by the Met Basketball Writers Association.
The winner of 608 career games and the second-winningest coach in Atlantic 10 history and most among active coaches, Gaitley has led a team to the NCAA Tournament on eight occasions, has appeared in the postseason 16 times, has compiled 17 20-win seasons, and has won five conference titles over her 32 years as a head coach.
After a 12-18 record in her first season at Fordham, Gaitley entered her second campaign with a few key additions. With Marah Strickland and Erin Rooney finally ready to play and star recruit Samantha Clark in maroon and white, Gaitley had all the pieces she would need to put together a historic campaign.
Gaitley’s Fordham squad put up the best record the program had seen in over 30 years, finishing the season 26-9 and falling in the Atlantic 10 title game by just one point to Saint Joseph’s. Earning Fordham’s first berth in the WNIT, the Rams advanced to the Round of 16 with wins over Army and Boston University, picking up the school’s first postseason victories since 1980 in the process.
Playing her signature style of smart, yet aggressive defense, the 2012-13 Rams finished the season ranked first in the Atlantic 10 and 16th in the nation in scoring defense, and also finished the year ranked 15th in the country in free throw percentage. Following the season, Gaitley earned her first Met honor.
With the success of the previous year still fresh in her team’s mind, the 2013-14 Rams put together the most memorable season of Fordham women’s basketball in over three decades, winning the program’s first-ever Atlantic 10 Championship and securing an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time since 1994. In claiming the title, Gaitley guided the Rams to wins over three teams against whom they had gone 0-4 during the regular season.
In addition to advancing to the NCAA Tournament, Gaitley’s squad also accomplished a number of feats during the regular season, including a school-record 12-game winning streak, a school-record 11 nonconference wins and the program’s first-ever Thanksgiving tournament victory at the Lady Rebel Round-Up played at UNLV.
The 2014-15 season saw the Rams win at least 21 games for the third straight season (the first time since 1977-1980 that a Ram team has won 20 or more games three years in a row) earn their third consecutive postseason appearance (as they made the second round of the WNIT before falling at St. John’s), and finish fourth in the Atlantic 10 standings to earn the #4 seed in the conference tournament (where they lost to top seed and nationally-ranked George Washington in the semifinals). Gaitley also became the second-winningest coach in program history with 84 wins. The Rams led the conference in scoring defense (55.5), which was good enough for 18th nationally, and three-point field goal percentage defense (.274), which ranked 15th in the nation.
The 2016-17 campaign culminated in a 22-12 season and a third postseason WNIT berth and prominently featured the rise and development of junior forward G’mrice Davis to a First Team All-Conference and All-Defense selection. Gaitley became the program’s all-time leader in wins, finishing the year with 120, and the Rams picked up yet another postseason victory, coming from behind to defeat Georgetown on the road before falling at Penn State. To start the year, the Rams defeated Furman at home in the first round of the preseason WNIT and were paired with then-ranked #1 Notre Dame on the road. After holding the Fighting Irish to one of their lowest scoring outputs of the year despite the loss, the Rams defeated Little Rock several days later to round out their stint in the tournament. Unsurprisingly, the Rams’ Gaitley-inspired defense finished top-20 in the nation yet again, at 19th with 56.2 points allowed per contest. Part of their success was limiting opponents to just 27.7% from behind the three-point arc, ranked 14th in the country. Davis, meanwhile, finished second in all of Division I in every rebounding statistics and third with 24 double-doubles, becoming just the second player other than Fordham Hall of Famer Anne Gregory O’Connell to average double-figure boards per game.
Those numbers continued to rise in 2017-18 as Fordham went 24-10, the fifth-most wins in school history, and matched the program record for longest postseason run, defeating Harvard and Drexel to reach the Sweet Sixteen of the WNIT. Davis became the program’s first-ever All-American by upping her averages to 16.5 points and 13.4 rebounds, earning First Team All-Conference honors, while redshirt freshman Bre Cavanaugh set nearly every Fordham rookie record if not for Gregory O’Connell’s historic 1976-77 season. Cavanaugh earned Second Team distinction and was named MBWA Rookie of the Year. Gaitley’s Rams allowed just 56.1 points per game to opponents, ranked 15th in the country.
Gaitley, who led Monmouth University to 23 wins and a WNIT appearance in 2011, was named head coach at Fordham University on April 1, 2011 and set out to begin a new chapter in the Rams’ women’s basketball program, a chapter marked by hard work, an international flavor, a stifling defense and an emphasis on family values.
Gaitley arrived at Rose Hill with extensive experience as a head coach, guiding teams at Monmouth, Long Island University, Saint Joseph’s University and the University of Richmond over a 25-year span. She compiled a 464-270 career record (.630 winning percentage) over that time, including 12 20-win seasons.
Gaitley coached three players who earned conference Player of the Year accolades including Long Island’s Valerie Nainima (now part of her staff at Fordham), who was the first player in Northeast Conference history to win the league’s Rookie and Player of the Year honors in the same season when she accomplished the feat in 2007. The other two are Jana Lichnerova and Susan Moran, the 2000 and 2002 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year at Saint Joseph’s, respectively. Both Lichnerova and Moran were also named Atlantic 10 Student-Athletes of the Year for women’s basketball.
Nainima, a member of the Fiji women’s national basketball team, Lichnerova, who played for the Slovakia Olympic Team at the 2000 Games, and Moran, one of the top women’s basketball players from Ireland, are a good example of Gaitley’s international roots that have served her so well in her career. Gaitley has had three of her former international players either drafted or in camp with WNBA teams, and has conducted SVG camps all over the world for the past 20 years.
Gaitley also has experience with the United States national team, serving as an assistant in 2000 at the Jones Cup and helping the team to the gold medal. She also served as head coach of the West Team at the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival, winning a silver medal.
An underlying theme for Gaitley-coached teams has been an unyielding defense, as evidenced by her Blackbirds squad that led the Northeast Conference in scoring defense from 2006-08, including holding the opposition to 54.8 points per game in 2007-08. In fact, from 1989-2000, Coach Gaitley’s teams ranked in the top-10 in the nation in scoring defense nine times. In 2012-13 and 2013-14, her Rams finished 16th and 12th, respectively in the nation in that category, and most recently 15th a year ago with the 2017-18 squad.
One of the most apparent attributes about Coach Gaitley is her likeable demeanor strongly influenced by family values. Gaitley has an outgoing personality that is contagious throughout her program. She has maintained a longstanding, successful career based around her attitude and ability to convey her beliefs as a coach and as a mentor to her players.
In 2010-11, Gaitley led Monmouth to a 23-10 overall record, 13-5 in the Northeast Conference, and helped the Hawks tie the school record for wins in a season and advance to the title game of the NEC Championship. Following the championship game loss, Monmouth received its first ever WNIT bid and its first postseason appearance since making the 1983 NCAA Tournament.
Gaitley spent three seasons at Monmouth, recording a winning slate each year. She accomplished this with her trademark tough defense, allowing fewer than 60 points per game each year, including an NEC-best 55.7 in 2010-11.
Gaitley’s Monmouth teams also were successful in the classroom, with the 2009-10 squad honored by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) as one of the top academic squads in the nation. The Hawks ranked 15th in the country with a 3.4 team GPA in the WBCA’s annual Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll, which is based on the highest grade point averages (GPA) for the entire season.
Prior to her three years at Monmouth, Gaitley served as the head coach at Long Island University for six seasons, accumulating a 95-82 record at the helm of the program. She left the Brooklyn school as the winningest coach in LIU women’s basketball history. In her final season at the school, 2007-08, she guided the Blackbirds to a school-record 24 wins and the top seed in the Northeast Conference Tournament. In her time in Brooklyn, she led LIU to a pair of 20-win seasons, the first NEC Regular Season title and first WNIT bid in program history and was named the 2006-07 NEC Coach of the Year.
Prior to her stint with Long Island, Gaitley was the head coach at Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia, Pa. for ten seasons (1992-01). She led the Hawks to five 20-win seasons and two Atlantic 10 Championships in her time there while earning five NCAA Tournament bids, including three at-large berths. Her teams advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament three times and she earned both a preseason and postseason WNIT bid. She finished her time in Philly with a 196-88 mark and 109-39 in conference play.
In 1992-93, Gaitley’s second season with Saint Joseph’s, she went 21-8, which kick-started a run of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in three of the next four years. Gaitley’s teams in 1993-94 and 1994-95 went a combined 39-18 at Saint Joseph’s. Her teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each season, and her 1999-2000 team went 25-6 and won the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship.
Gaitley got her start as a head coach at the University of Richmond from 1985-1991 where she compiled a 116-63 record, the most wins for any Richmond women’s basketball coach, while winning 20 or more games in a season four times. During her last two seasons with the Spiders, she went a combined 51-10 and won the Colonial Athletic Association Championship each season while advancing to the NCAA Tournament in both years. Gaitley was named the CAA Coach of the Year in 1989-90 and also led the Spiders to a WNIT bid.
A native of Ocean City, N.J., Gaitley graduated from Villanova in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education and was an academic All-American that season. She was named to the Eastman Kodak All-America Team in 1981-82 and is currently sixth on the Villanova all-time rebounding list. She also received a Master of Science degree in secondary education at Villanova in 1983. The school inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 1993, three years after she was enshrined into the Philadelphia Big Five Hall of Fame.
Gaitley and her two sisters, Courtney and Coco, hold a piece of NCAA history. During the 1981-82 season, Stephanie and Courtney, while playing for Villanova, played against Coco, who played for FDU, marking the first time in NCAA history that three sisters competed in the same game.
Gaitley learned early on in her basketball career about success, as she was a member of the Ocean City High School girl’s basketball team that went 100-0 in league play from 1974-78 under head coach Pat Dougherty. She is a member of the South Jersey and Ocean City High School Halls of Fame.
Gaitley and her husband, Frank, have three sons: Dutch, an assistant coach with the Charlotte Hornets, D.C., a four-year member of the men’s basketball program and current intern with the Miami Heat, and Jordan “Coop” Gaitley, a sophomore at the University of Richmond and member of the Spiders’ basketball program.
"After an extensive national search, we are excited to find someone like Stephanie Gaitley to lead our women's basketball program," said former Fordham Executive Director of Athletic Frank McLaughlin at her introductory press conference. "She has been a winner and has always had a conference-championship caliber team. Not only has Stephanie had great success on the court, she has always emphasized academic success and the full development of the student-athlete. Her outstanding coaching career makes a strong statement that Fordham is very serious about becoming one of the top women's basketball programs in the very competitive Atlantic 10 Conference."