UMW News BureauCara Cocchiarella, University of Montana Western head women’s basketball coach, will step down from her position effective the end of spring semester 2012. UMW NEWS BUREAU [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="156" caption="Cara Cocchiarella"][/caption] Cara Cocchiarella, University of Montana Western head women’s basketball coach, will step down from her position effective the end of spring semester 2012. Cocchiarella said she made the difficult decision due to personal reasons. “I really appreciate the opportunity Montana Western has given me,” Cocchiarella explained. “I’ve absolutely loved working with these girls. I have every bit of confidence they will be a great team next year and down the road. I’m going to miss them very much.” Montana Western Athletic Director Mark Durham said Cocchiarella brought significant improvement to the program and will be missed. “We are definitely sad to see Cara go, but we understand and wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” Durham said. “She is a great coach and she was a tremendous asset to our program.” Cocchiarella was head coach of the Bulldogs for three seasons beginning in 2009. While leading the women’s team, she compiled a record of 32 wins and 51 losses, including the team’s 15-13 record for the 2011-2012 season. The women’s team received votes in the national NAIA poll for the 2011-2012 season. The team also placed in the top 10 of the NAIA rankings for several categories over the last two seasons, including: first in Division I defensive rebounds per game in 2010-2011; second in Division I assists per game in 2010-2011; sixth in Division I field goal percentage in 2010-2011; ninth in Division I total rebounds per game in 2010-2011; and ninth in defensive rebounds per game in 2011-2012. Cocchiarella received both her college degrees — a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Health Enhancement K-12 and a Master of Science in Health and Human Performance with an emphasis in exercise science — from the University of Montana. While a student at UM, she was a Presidential Scholar and a member of the Lady Griz basketball team. She took her position at Montana Western after serving as the director of basketball operations for the women’s program at Gonzaga University. Prior to her stay at Gonzaga, she was a teacher and coach at Missoula Sentinel and Loyola Sacred Heart in Missoula. At Loyola, she compiled an overall record of 132 wins with just 23 losses. In 2006, she led the Loyola Breakers to the Class B state title and was recognized as the coach of the year. Cocchiarella said she will remember her time at Montana Western fondly, and is proud to have been a part of the campus. “This has been a very good thing for me for the past three years, and I’m proud to say I got to be a Bulldog.”
The University of Montana Western has launched a national search for the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs position.