Spring 2014 Magazine - Immaculata University - page 27

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achieve a common goal. She motivated you to do
the best you could do. So many of the Sisters had a
profound influence on me, including Sister Marian
William who was president of the College then.”
When an appropriate spot finally opened up,
Sister Catarin called on Canterino, who became
director of Student Life in 1998. Two years later,
she was named athletic director and head women’s
basketball coach, and her record speaks for itself.
Canterino is entering her 14th season as Im-
maculata’s director of athletics and head women’s
basketball coach, and she recently surpassed the
record set by Naismith Hall of Fame legendary
coach Cathy Rush for most career wins at Im-
maculata with the team’s first victory during the
2013-14 campaign.
Canterino, who was named the 2005-06
Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (PAC) Women’s
Basketball Coach of the Year, led her squad to
back-to-back postseason berths during 2005-06
and 2006-07, and returned to the postseason three
years in a row 2009-2012. It marked the sixth
time in a nine-year span that the Mighty Macs
advanced to the postseason, making their first ap-
pearance in 2003-04.
During 2006-07, the Mighty Macs recorded an
overall mark of 15-11 and placed third in the PAC
South Division with a record of 10-6 in the second
consecutive winning season for Immaculata, and
several of Canterino’s players earned distinction
that year.
During 2008-09, the third Immaculata player
under Canterino reached the 1,000-point mark
when Dominique Murray '09 became the 17th IU
player to reach the plateau.
The 2009-10 season marked a milestone in
Canterino’s college coaching career with her 100th
victory on January 18, 2010 with the Mighty Macs
defeating Keystone College, 68-29. That season
also marked a first for the Immaculata women’s
basketball program as Chrissy Esbensen won the
CSAC’s (Colonial States Athletic Conference)
Rookie of the Year award, marking the first time
that an IU player has received the conference’s top
freshman honor.
Chelsea McTigue '11, became the 18th player
in IU’s women’s basketball history to collect 1,000
career points and was named a finalist for The Jos-
tens Trophy in 2011, which recognizes outstanding
basketball players who exemplify the Division III
philosophy of the well-rounded student-athlete,
recognized for athletic ability as well as excellence
in academics and campus and community service.
Canterino’s unwavering commitment to balancing
athletics and academics is evidenced by her team’s
academic accomplishments: The 2011-12 season
marked the third-straight year that Immacu-
lata’s women’s basketball team ranked among the
WBCA’s Top 25 Team Honor Roll.
In the 2010-11 season, the most successful of
her career so far, Canterino led her team to the
CSAC championship game where The Mighty
Macs finished as CSAC runner-up.
During the 2011-12 campaign, Canterino
guided two more Immaculata players to reach the
1,000-point mark when Bridget Welz and Kelly
Brown became the 19th and 20th players, respec-
tively, in IU women’s basketball history to reach
the standard.
Canterino also added two more players to
her growing list of all-league players following
the 2012-13 season with Esbensen capping her
career with her third-consecutive Second Team
All-CSAC selection, and Sara Smith receiving
honorable mention honors from the conference.
Esbensen also became the seventh Canterino-
coached player to top the 1,000 point mark for her
career just four games into the season.
“The students are my greatest joy,” said Canter-
ino. “I love seeing them be successful on the court,
in the classroom, out serving in the community.
We’re not just about winning games. Last year, we
had the highest GPA in the conference. We’re do-
ing something right academically. And, statistical-
ly, most of the high achievers are student-athletes.
These young adults manage so much—practice,
classes, internships, clinicals, jobs. If they don’t go
to class, we’re on them. If they’re having trouble in
a subject, we find them a tutor. We don’t want our
students to be successful for just four years—we
want them to be successful for 40 years.”
Canterino knows from experience how chal-
lenging it is to balance the demands of work and
school. She returned to the classroom herself at
the urging of her mother and Sister Ann Heath,
IHM, Ph.D., vice president for Academic Affairs,
to earn a master’s in Organizational Leadership.
“My mother was torturing me about getting my
master’s,” said Canterino, “and Sister Ann Heath
really encouraged me to follow through and earn
my graduate degree. The IHM Sisters are such
strong women and such a powerful influence in my
life. I am so lucky to call Immaculata home.”
Canterino pointed out that the robust growth
and development of athletics at Immaculata is the
direct result of the University’s continuing support
for the program, and she also commends her staff
for making what she does as AD and head coach
possible. “My parents used to say you have to get
up in the morning and like what you do. Well, I
love what I do. I love coming to work. We have
such good people that I am privileged to work
with every day. They put in long hours, and when
people are leaving at 4:30, our day is just starting. I
appreciate everything they do.”
Dedication. Discipline. Passion. Persistence.
Courage. Integrity. Excellence. These are founda-
tional Immaculata values, and they are the values
Canterino and her staff model and strive to instill
in their student-athletes. “For this age group,
sports teaches them about who they are, about
leadership, about being a team player. They have to
learn to get along with people, to work coopera-
tively with others to reach a goal. Playing sports
teaches life lessons, about the importance of com-
mitting to something and giving it your maximum
effort. No matter what the final score is, you want
to walk off the floor knowing you’ve done the best
you can do.”
For, as Canterino—or any coach worth her
salt—knows, life itself is a team sport.
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