DALLAS – Last season was one to remember for the Misericordia University women's basketball program.
It was a successful season under two head coaches.
Tom Griffith was in the middle of his eighth season coaching the Cougars when he resigned his position after leading them to a 9-7 mark. Misericordia athletic director Dave Martin stepped in as interim head coach and the team finished 17-11, with a Freedom Conference title and a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
After the season, a search for a new head coach began, and in June, it was announced that Misericordia had found her.
Allison Kern, a native of Dayton, Ohio, has been around basketball her entire life. She was the choice to maintain the level of success Misericordia has achieved.
"My dad worked as an official and a coach, and when I got older, I went to all of his games," Kern said. "Basketball is a big part of my life and it's always been a big part of my life."
Kern was a former standout player at Chaminade-Julienne High School, where she led the team to the No. 1 state ranking her junior year and a state title her senior year.
She attended John Carroll University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in political science and was a four-year letter winner for the women's basketball program. She was named team offensive MVP her senior year.
After she graduated college in 2007, Kern was an assistant coach for one season at Hiram (Ohio) College. After that, she became an assistant coach for William Smith College in Geneva, N.Y., for four seasons.
"I was at a point in my career where I was ready to look for a head coaching job," Kern said. "Lucky for me William Smith is a great place with a great situation and I was able to find the right fit. A couple of coaches talked about Misericordia and how great it was.
"The second I stepped onto campus I knew it was a great fit for me. The community and the support have been fantastic."
With the school year about to begin, and a few more months before winter season workouts begin, Kern said she's been doing the best she can to keep in touch with her players. She said she's met some in person and others she's been keeping in touch with through phone calls and e-mails.
With a new head coach for the first time in eight seasons, some may wonder what they will see out of Kern. She says they will get her best because she's doing what she loves doing.
"I'm a workaholic because I'm in a job that enables a workaholic," Kern said. "College coaching requires work, and I love what I do and I love everything about it. I love being around the players, in the office, and they're going to get as much of me as they want. I'll always be doing something to help the program."
Coming off of three straight winning seasons and a Freedom Conference title, one would think there would be tons of pressure on a new coach to keep the winning traditions going. Kern said if there is any on her, she welcomes it.
"A lot of times, your first head coaching job, you're trying to work your way up the ladder," she said. "I'm really lucky that there are great kids here and coach Martin last year did a great job taking over. There's already a great program here with kids that can win, so I'll take that pressure any day with this talented group that knows how to win."
Kern will make her regular season debut at Lycoming on Nov. 20.