UMW News BureauMontana Western Athletic Director Mark Durham announces Cara Cocchiarella as the new women's head basketball coach. Cocchiarella comes to Montana Western from Gonzaga University. By Wally Feldt Cara Cocchiarella has been named head women’s basketball coach at the University of Montana Western according to athletic director Mark Durham. Cocchiarella comes to Montana Western from Gonzaga University where she served as director of basketball operations for the women’s program for the past year. “We’re very excited to have Cara as our new women’s coach,” Durham said. “She is an over achiever who won a lot of games during her prep coaching career. We had 60 applicants in the search. She was very impressive in her campus interviews and rose to the top. Cara knows how to teach and coach and has the ability to motivate student-athletes as players and people.” Cocchiarella is a native of Missoula, Mont. She received her bachelor of arts and master of science from the University of Montana. At Missoula, she was a Presidential Scholar and a member of the Lady Griz basketball team. “I am very excited,” Cocchiarella said. “I think there is great tradition at Montana Western. There are good players in the program and I really like the campus. This is a great opportunity for me!” Prior to position at Gonzaga, she was a teacher and coach at Missoula Loyola Sacred Heart. Her record at Loyola was 132-23 with a state championship in 2006. In addition to the state title that year, Cocchiarella was chosen Coach of the Year. She also coached the Loyola girl’s track team to the 2005 state title. Cocchiarella becomes the sixth head coach in the 38-year history of the program, replacing 13-year veteran Kevin Engellant who announced his retirement in March. Appointment pending Montana Board of Regents approval.