PHILADELPHIA Former Cabrini College women’s basketball head coach Bernadette Laukaitis and former Quinnipiac assistant Kara Cassidy will join the women's basketball staff at the University of Pennsylvania. The announcement was made recently by new head coach Mike McLaughlin.
“Bernadette and Kara have won wherever they have been,” said McLaughlin. “Bernadette won a conference championship in her first season at Cabrini last year, and Kara won both as a player and coach at Quinnipiac. I think it will help us implement what we want to do here, having people who have been successful as both players and coaches.”
Laukaitis was a longtime assistant coach at Holy Family University under McLaughlin before being named the head women’s basketball coach at Cabrini College in 2008.
“I am extremely excited to be with Coach McLaughlin again,” Laukaitis said. “This is a great opportunity to be back with him and at such a prestigious school. I really like the community feel at Penn. The alumni are a big thing here, and I think it's great to be a part of that.”
In her only season at the Cabrini helm, Laukaitis led the Cavaliers to the NCAA Tournament. Cabrini finished with 23-5 overall record the most wins for the program since the 1994-95 season and won the Colonial States Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles.
During Laukaitis’ tenure with McLaughlin at Holy Family, the Tigers advanced to eight national postseason tournaments, including five NCAA Tournaments and three NAIA Tournaments. Holy Family captured five Central Athletic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Tournament championships and eight regular-season crowns. The Tigers boasted a 234-27 overall mark with Laukaitis on the sideline, winning 64 consecutive games in CACC play.
Laukaitis’ coaching career took shape as a student-athlete at Holy Family, as she played point guard for the Tigers (1996-2000). She led a program ranked in the Top 25 in each of her four seasons, including a No. 1 national ranking at the conclusion of the 1998 regular season. A three-year team captain, Laukaitis was named the Small College Player of the Year in 2000 by the
Northeast News Gleaner.
A Philadelphia native and former Quinnipiac University women’s basketball standout, Cassidy spent five seasons as a coach with the Bobcats while also serving as the recruiting coordinator.
“I'm from Philadelphia, and a goal of mine was always to get back into the Big 5 and to become a part of that college basketball tradition,” Cassidy said. “For The Palestra to be my home court is a dream come true and something I never thought I would be fortunate enough to say.”
Last season, the Bobcats won 18 games and finished third in the Northeast Conference (NEC), while in 2007-08 Quinnipiac finished with a 25-6 record and earned a berth to the WNIT. Those 25 wins were a Division I program record, and the Bobcats secured the regular season NEC championship.
The former Bobcat point guard was a four-year letterwinner and a two-year team captain at Quinnipiac from 19992003. At the time of her graduation, she held the program’s top two Division I single-season marks for assists and ranked third in three-point percentage. She still stands as the program’s Division I leader with 418 career assists and is sixth in steals with 133.
Cassidy graduated from Quinnipiac in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Before returning to the University, she served as a district manager of ADP, a data processing company in Fort Washington, Pa. In addition to her role at ADP, Cassidy was head coach of the St. Charles Borromeo School CYO varsity girls' basketball team in Drexel Hill, Pa., from 200305.