Top Ivy League coach shares lessons of leadership with Meriden students

30 August 2016

A Princeton University coach, named one of the world’s greatest leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015, visited Meriden on 26 August, as part of the school’s commitment to support students who display sporting and academic excellence.

Courtney Banghart, head coach of the Princeton Tigers, shared her lessons of leadership with Meriden students, drawing on her nine years’ experience leading the women’s basketball team to victory. Since Ms Banghart’s appointment in 2007, the Tigers have won five Ivy League championships and appeared in five National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women’s Division 1 tournaments.

The visit comes as Meriden reinforces its Olympus program, which provides support for students who excel in the academic and sporting arenas and guidance as they consider their tertiary education options and begin the application process for institutes and scholarships.

Principal of Meriden, Dr Julie Greenhalgh, said that hosting the Princeton Tigers was about inspiring students to become leaders in their field, and encouraging them to reach their goals.  

“Meriden has an increasing number of students who play sport at elite level. In the past three years, five Meriden graduates have been awarded full scholarships to leading American universities, playing in the competitive world of NCAA sport,” Dr Greenhalgh said.

“The visit from Ms Banghart and the Tigers is a reminder of the broader opportunities out there for our students, and motivation for them to achieve great things in the areas they are passionate about.”

On 1 September, Meriden will host a forum with representatives from the NCAA and universities from various states of the USA. The aim of the forum is to provide information to tertiary education advisors and coaches about academic and sporting opportunities at their universities.

NCAA sport has become known as a pathway to the Olympics. At the 2016 Olympics, over 1,000 competitors from 107 countries were current or former NCAA athletes, hailing from top universities such as UCLA, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford and Yale.

“The forum is a great opportunity to foster our relationships with these leading universities, and find out more about the options for our students on an international scale. Meriden is proud to offer a “pathway to greatness” – providing a platform for our talented students to reach their potential and succeed in their chosen fields,” Dr Greenhalgh said.

Year 10 Meriden student, Lauryn Walker, said that she and her fellow students gained a lot from the session with the Princeton Tigers. “They are an incredible group of humble individuals and they spoke with such charisma and wisdom that it made the experience unforgettable.  It was evident that they are passionate about their sport as well as their study at Princeton University.  Their individual perspectives and advice on setting goals were motivating and valuable.“

“The coach, Courtney Banghart, is an inspiring, knowledgeable and dedicated woman who has led her team to their position as champions.  It was insightful to hear her strategies for tackling individual and team adversities.”

A dedicated basketball player herself, Lauryn had the opportunity to watch the Princeton Tigers play in Sydney.  “Everything they spoke to us about during the visit is reflected in the way they play basketball.  In addition to being highly skilled in their game, they back each other up in every play.  Each player shows leadership and respect for one another on the court.  It is clear that their qualities on and off the court have stemmed from the empowering and contagious leadership of their coach, Ms Banghart,“ Lauryn said.