Kodish Returns as Penn College Women's Basketball Coach

Published 11.09.2004


For the second time in his coaching career, Ron Kodish is starting over with the Pennsylvania College of Technology women's basketball team.

Kodish organized the College's first women's team during the 1996-97 season and, in his third season, guided the Lady Wildcats to the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference North Division title and a second-place finish to Manor College in the EPCC championship game.

A graduate of Lock Haven High School and Penn State University, Kodish then pursued an opportunity at Ohio Northern University as the women's assistant coach, but, along with his wife, found that was too far from home and returned to Penn College as a faculty member the following year. Now, after a five-year absence, in the words of Penn College Athletic Director Mike Stanzione, "He's back where he belongs."

Kodish has his work cut out for him when the Wildcats open their season Thursday at Central Penn. He takes over a team that won just two of 24 games a year ago, averaging 39 points a game on offense and allowing nearly 64 per game on defense.

"My hope, and the players' hope, is to become competitive again in the EPCC," said Kodish, adding that the College also will compete in the Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference this season. "I think, with the group of athletes we have, that we can be competitive again if we stay healthy and we can keep people in uniform. I tell my players, 'We're probably going to be outnumbered, but we're never going to be outplayed.' "

To see that come to fruition, Kodish has stressed conditioning, both physical and mental, during the preseason.

Probable starters are Jennifer Racho (5-foot-8, sophomore forward/guard from Hazleton), Katlyn Stupar (5-11, freshman forward/center from State College), Janell Thompson (5-11, freshman guard from Northern Potter), Natalie Plavi (5-6, freshman guard from Elderton) and Alisha Heaster (5-6, freshman guard from Alexandria). Racho led last year's team in scoring with a 9.5 points-per-game average. Other players on the roster are Tiffini Lanza (5-3, sophomore guard from Perkiomen Valley; a co-captain with Racho), Kim Sierra (5-9, freshman forward/center) from Levittown, Stephanie Haines (6-foot, freshman forward/center from Dillsburg; presently injured, but expected back by January) and Tamilade Agboola (5-5, freshman guard from Philadelphia).

The Lady Wildcats will run multiple offenses, looking for the high percentage shots.

"I think we've got a group that is very unselfish. I don't think we've got anybody that's looking to do for themselves. It seems to be a team of players that have really bought into the concept of the team and doing the things that it's going to take for the whole team to come out on top," said Kodish.

Defensively, Kodish said, "I'm a believer in creating the pressure. Basketball is a game of action and reaction. I've always wanted to force the action on both ends of the court and cause the other team to react to what we're doing. We want to put pressure on when we can.

"We want to play aggressively man-to-man and we want to get into some full-court zone pressure situations," he said. "I want the other team to worry about where they're going to complete the next pass, not where they're going to take the next shot."

Assisting Kodish will be Sara Smith of Canton, who played for him during his last two years as coach at the College his first time around.