Morgan Birmelin showed her interest in making a transition in basketball with her March participation in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association “So You Want To Be A Coach” program.
The former JB Hoops, Honesdale High School and DeSales University standout is immediately taking that step.
Birmelin, who earned first-team National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III women’s All-American honors just months ago after the completion of her senior season at DeSales, has joined the King’s College program as a graduate assistant coach.
King’s head coach Caitlin Hadzimichalis made formal the announcement of Birmelin’s hiring Friday morning. Birmelin had already accompanied Hadzimichalis on a recruiting trip last week, observing players at the USJN 17U National Championships at the National Harbor in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Oxon Hill, Md.
“The moment Morgan signed on, our program became better,” Hadzmichalis said in the announcement of the hiring on the school’s athletic website. “Obviously, she has an incredible resume with many accolades from her playing career, but those get magnified once you see her leadership skills and personality off the court.
“Her positive energy and drive are contagious and I’m so excited to have her engaged in all aspects of our program.”
It helps that Birmelin is known to many of the King’s players through her status as the top player in the Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom in which both King’s and DeSales compete.
“Morgan immediately brings energy and perspective to our program,” Hadzimichalis said. “Our players have always respected Morgan as an opponent because she knows the game and our conference so well. She has achieved what we hope to achieve.
“I’m grateful we are going to get a front-row seat to her insights. It will be invaluable.”
Birmelin set school records, led the nation statistically, earned multiple individual awards and helped DeSales win a pair of NCAA Division III Tournament games as a senior.
“I am extremely grateful to have been hired as an assistant at King’s College,” said Birmelin, the MAC Freedom and D3hoops.com Atlantic Region Player of the Year as a senior. “I am excited to be a part of a competitive program and to learn from coach Hadzimichalis. I look forward to being part of a very knowledgeable coaching staff, as well as a talented team.
“I hope to bring a positive work ethic and create an encouraging environment for our girls to succeed on the court and in the classroom.”
Birmelin was a three-time, all-MAC Freedom selection. In 2018-19, she led the nation in both total assists (223) and assists per game (7.4) while ranking third in steals (106) and 17th in steals per game (3.5).
After averaging 13.3 points per game as a senior, Birmelin finished her career in 19th in school history with 1,137 points. She set school records for assists in a season and career, with her total of 648 ranking tied for 17th in NCAA history.
Birmelin’s steal totals of 106 for the season and 338 for her career each rank second in school history.
At DeSales, where she earned an early childhood education degree, Birmelin served on the Leadership Council and was the women’s basketball team representative on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC). She got some early coaching experience at prospect clinics and by helping to run clinics at the school.