While interviewing for the Johns Hopkins women's basketball coaching vacancy, Katherine Bixby met with three current players who were on the search committee.
Bixby, who spent the last three years as head coach at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., bonded with the Blue Jays during the interview process over their shared Centennial Conference scouting plans. They discussed mock lessons about defensive strategies and how Bixby envisioned operating Johns Hopkins' offense.
That conversation sealed Bixby's interest in the job, and the school revealed Friday morning it felt the same, naming her the program's head coach to replace Nancy Funk.
"I was really excited talking to them, and they had some great things to say about Hopkins and about Baltimore," Bixby said. "It was fun. It was a good talk, so I'm really looking forward to getting on campus and meeting the rest of them."
Bixby, 29, who grew up just outside of Philadelphia, was eager to accept the job as her mentors prodded her to follow Funk's legacy. The former coach led the Blue Jays for 31 years and earned 10 NCAA tournament bids.
While playing at Ithaca and earning bachelor's and master's degrees in 2011 and 2012, she watched Funk's teams and admired her coaching style and success. Bixby then competed against the Blue Jays at Dickinson from 2014 to 2017.
"Nancy is a pioneer, I think, for women coaches in college and as a player," Bixby said. "To be able to follow somebody like Nancy, I feel really, really humbled by that, and I feel really excited to kind of step up and continue her legacy of a strong female coach."
In the past two seasons, Bixby guided the Red Devils to a combined 34-18 record, including a 30-16 mark in Centennial Conference play.
She hopes to translate that success to Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays went 13-12 last season and return their leading scorer, guard Lillian Scott (15.6 points per game), and top rebounder, forward/center Rory Cole (8.5 rebounds per game).
"Katherine's recent success as a head coach was obvious, but our selection committee was also drawn to her energy and the passion she displayed for her student-athletes," Hopkins athletic director Alanna Shanahan said. "I truly believe she is one of the rising young stars among women's basketball coaches."