Shannon Kynoch heads into her fifth season as the Saint Michael's women's basketball head coach in 2017-18, and her 10th overall as a coach in the program. Kynoch is also the adviser for the Saint Michael's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
In 2016-17, the Purple and Gold got off to its first 3-0 Northeast-10 Conference start in nine years, capped by a 62-57 defeat of 23rd-ranked Saint Anselm College. Winners of seven of nine games around New Year's, Saint Michael's was 10-7 overall and 8-4 in the NE10 by Jan. 21, when it held its third straight opponent to 51 points or fewer. However, a season-ending injury to leading scorer Leah Spencer '18 in early February led to a difficult stretch over the final two weeks that saw the Purple Knights lose a tie-breaker for the fifth and final postseason berth out of the NE10 Northeast Division. Saint Michael's had one of its finest defensive seasons, including blocking its most shots (108) since 1998-99 while allowing 60 points or fewer 13 times. Six losses were sustained by eight points or fewer despite Kynoch's squad utilizing a young group that counted only one multi-year starter among its returners.
The Purple Knights lost 11 contests by 10 points or fewer in 2015-16, but a highlight was their sweep of a two-game season series from perennial regional power Stonehill College for the first time in 25 years. In addition to downing a Stonehill squad bound for the NE-10 Championship, Saint Michael's knocked off Saint Anselm, which eventually qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Kynoch led her first team to the postseason in 2014-15, as the Purple Knights made their initial NE-10 Championship appearance in three seasons. Saint Michael's fell in the first round to American International College, the eventual tournament runner-up, after being tied with a little more than three minutes remaining to cap a 12-15 season. The Purple Knights snagged the fifth and final postseason spot from the NE-10 Northeast Division thanks to finishing the regular season with a 4-3 stretch, downing regionally-ranked Franklin Pierce University and then winning twice on national television during that run. Included in that span were the completion of a season sweep of defending national champion Bentley University on CBS Sports Network's NCAA Division II National TV Game of the Week and knocking off Southern New Hampshire University on NESN National. Saint Michael's, which finished second in the NE-10 in steals per game and third in free throw shooting, opened the season by downing Queens (N.Y.) College and Holy Family (Pa.) University, which was receiving national votes, at its own DoubleTree Tip-Off Classic. Both teams ended up qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
Following five seasons as an assistant coach, Kynoch was appointed the sixth head coach in program history on May 2, 2013. Despite having fewer than 10 players at their disposal for much of Kynoch's debut campaign in 2013-14, the Purple Knights played 17 games decided by single digits. Saint Michael's picked up a pair of upsets during the season, knocking off Assumption College, which was receiving national votes, on Nov. 26 before defeating 22nd-ranked Stonehill College at the buzzer on Jan. 4. During NE-10 play, Kynoch's charges ranked third in the league in free throw shooting and seventh in steals per contest.
Kynoch helped the Purple Knights place in the top half of the NE-10 in scoring defense during each of her final four seasons as an assistant, buoyed by yielding 60 points or fewer a school-record 18 times in 2011-12. Among the squad's most momentous wins in 2012-13 was a 73-59 victory on Feb. 9 against eventual NCAA Tournament qualifier Franklin Pierce, which capped a stretch of seven victories in 10 games.
Kynoch held a role as a part-time assistant coach in 2008-09 before being promoted to the full-time, first assistant position in August 2009. She has been heavily responsible for the daily operations of the program during her tenure, from serving as the recruiting coordinator and summer camp director to scouting opponents and creating game and practice plans. In her role with the program, Kynoch has been integral in alumni communication, fundraising and community outreach.
Since Kynoch joined the program, the Purple Knights have posted at least a dozen victories on four occasions, and qualified for the highly competitive NE-10 Championship twice. In 2010-11, Saint Michael's earned its first postseason victory in 19 seasons and set a program mark with 13 league wins.
Kynoch graduated from the NCAA Women Coaches Academy in 2012 and has sharpened her leadership skills at the Nike Championship Basketball Clinic (2010) and Point Guard College (2011). An adviser within the College's Purple Knight Leadership Academy (PKLA) since 2011, Kynoch has also held a role within the department's athletic operations team since 2009. In addition to serving as the part-time coach in 2008-09, Kynoch was a para-educator at her alma mater, South Burlington High School. She served as an assistant coach for the South Burlington High varsity softball team in 2009, and also has served as an assistant coach for the South Burlington High School Unified Sports Special Olympics program.
In 2015, Kynoch earned her master's degree in education with a focus in school leadership from the College. A 2008 undergraduate of the University of Southern Maine, Kynoch majored in social work while playing four years for the Division III powerhouse. She was a four-year member of Southern Maine's SAAC, serving as president for her final two years, when she was also the school's representative to the Little East Conference's (LEC) SAAC. Kynoch earned the Husky Achievement Award, Paula D. Hodgdon Leadership Award, USM Outstanding Student Leader Award and William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete Award during her career.
In five seasons with the Huskies, which included a medical redshirt year, Kynoch helped Southern Maine go 144-14 overall and 68-2 in LEC play, winning five regular-season crowns and four postseason championships while making five NCAA Tournament appearances. A captain in 2006-07, Kynoch's squad was the national runner-up in 2005-06 after also making a Final Four run in 2004-05. She compiled 706 points, 482 rebounds and 101 blocks in 117 career games.
Kynoch had a standout basketball career at nearby South Burlington High School, being inducted into the Rebel Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. She was a two-year captain, and three times made the Burlington Free Press All-State team. A McDonald's All-America nominee, Kynoch was also named among the Vermont Basketball Coaches' Association (VBCA) Dream Team Dozen Underclassmen as a junior. She represented Vermont in the Twin State basketball game as a senior, and also earned All-Metro League first team honors.
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