Eckleberry named FSU women’s basketball coach

Takes over program with 1 winning season in past 8 years

FROSTBURG — Frostburg State University indicated the school conducted a national search to replace Carrie Saunders as head coach for the women’s basketball program. It turned out the best available candidate wasn’t very far away.

Jenna Eckleberry, who guided Shepherd University to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region semifinals this past season, has been at the Eastern Panhandle-based school in Shepherdstown, W.Va., for the past eight season. The Rams lost to No. 3 seed and eventual national champion Glenville State. The team relied heavily on All-American junior Abby Beeman, a Frankfort graduate. Beeman was the first Shepherd women’s basketball player to garner All-America honors in program history.

Jenna Eckleberry

During her eight years at the helm, Eckleberry led the Rams to 118 wins and two NCAA tourney berths. In Eckleberry’s first season at Shepherd, she led her team to 22 wins and was named Mountain East Conference and Atlantic Region Coach of the Year as the Rams earned a share of the MEC title.

“I am very excited about hiring a proven winner and recruiter,” said Associate Athletic Director Ruben Stevenson, “as well as someone who has had success and knowledge within the region. I am looking forward to see Jenna bring her experience and coaching ability to Frostburg and for the growth of our women’s basketball program.”

Prior to taking over at Shepherd, Eckleberry was an assistant at Fairmont (W.Va.) State for seven seasons. During her stint with the Fighting Falcons, the team won three conference championships and had three NCAA tournament appearances. With Eckleberry’s help, the team averaged 20 wins per season, and she helped to coach several all-conference players. Fairmont State had at least one first-team all conference player in each of Eckleberry’s seven seasons.

Eckleberry’s predecessor will not be far away from the team. Saunders was recently promoted and named assistant athletic director for academics and student-athlete development.

In the 2021-22 season, the Bobcats finished 5-23 overall and 4-18 in conference play under Saunders. They finished the year on a seven-game losing streak. Earlier in the year, the Bobcats lost nine in a row.

In eight years under Saunders, the Bobcats earned only one winning season — going 15-11 in 2018-19, including 7-7 in conference play — and tallied 61 wins against 139 losses.

The season before Eckleberry arrived at Shepherd, the Rams won only four games.

Eckleberry played three seasons at Fairmont State after transferring from Division I Robert Morris. She helped the Falcons to their first NCAA postseason appearance in her first season. Graduating in 2007, she was named the Colebank Award winner as the school’s top female senior athlete.

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