La Roche College is excited to announce that Kamela Gissendanner is returning to lead the women’s basketball program. Coach Gissendanner returns to campus after a year as an assistant coach at NCAA Div. I La Salle University.
“There is no place like home,” Coach Gissendanner said. “It is truly a blessing to be back where my head coaching career started. The people. The College. The tradition. There is no place I would rather be and can’t wait to get started and compete for more championships!”
Coach Gissendanner was one of the country’s top coaches in her tenure at La Roche. She led the Redhawks to five AMCC Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in her first five seasons. She had one of the top winning percentages in the country (.835, 116-23) and her squad was an incredible 85-5 in AMCC conference play. Coach Gissendanner was named the 2015-16 Advocates for Athletic Equity Div. III Coach of the Year.
“We are thrilled to welcome Coach Kam back home”, said Director of Athletics Jim Tinkey. “We were blessed to have had her for the time that we did prior to her leaving last season. It was an incredible opportunity this past spring when Coach and I started talking about her coming back to La Roche College. We’re all excited for her return at the end of the summer and already looking forward to next November”.
Coach Gissendanner coached two AMCC Players of the Year (Jessica Pitts, Sabrina McLin), five Defensive Players of the Year, and 16 AMCC All-Conference performers. Her teams also consistently ranked among the country’s best. She came to La Roche after serving as an assistant coach at St. Francis University (PA) from 2009-2011. In those two seasons, she helped lead the Red Flashes to two NCAA Tournament appearances and two NEC Championships.
Coach Gissendanner played part of the 2008 season with the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. She also spent a season in Norway’s Kvinnenligaen League where she was the league’s leading scorer and MVP, and played a season in Slovakia’s Cassovia League where she ranked fifth in scoring average.
Prior to turning pro, Coach Gissendanner played three seasons at Penn State University. She finished her collegiate career ranked 23rd on Penn State’s all-time scoring list with 1,236 points and was selected All-Big Ten Third Team in 2008 and All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in 2006 and 2007. She was named team-MVP her senior season and was selected as a team-captain her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
A Clairton, Pennsylvania native, Coach Gissendanner is a 2003 graduate of Clairton High School. While at Clairton, she set the school’s all-time scoring mark, was selected as a USA Today High School All-American and named the 2003 AP Small School Player of the Year, all while helping Clairton win two WPIAL Championships.
Coach Gissendanner resides in Clairton with her husband Eric and son Kameron.