Keeping MU’s Women’s Basketball Team Alive

After 16 years as a collegiate assistant coach, Jenny Palmateer has become the University’s seventh head coach for the women’s basketball team. With the teams recent eight game winning streak, Palmateer seems to have stepped in to her new coaching position very successfully.

The New Jersey native grew up in South Amboy where she first started her basketball career. In high school, Palmateer led her team to four New Jersey State Championships, including the first ever girl’s Tournament of Champions Title as a senior. Making the game winning shot in the TOC Semifinals against Pascack Valley was only the beginning step in her road to success with basketball.

Attending North Carolina University, Palmateer was the co-captain of the Wolfpack women’s team her junior and senior years. After reaching the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 twice, they were ranked eleventh in the country during the 1989-90 season. This placed them fifth in N.C. State’s ACC regular season championship. During that same season, the Wolfpack won nine consecutive road wins, leaving a mark that still remains in Raleigh.

When asked if she had always seen herself coaching, Palmateer simply replied, “I didn’t want to.” She decided to take a different route upon graduating from North Carolina State. The basketball sensation elected to take up a career at IBM in the marketing department for about six months after graduation. The star began missing the game that she loved so much and became involved in coaching as a volunteer at North Carolina State. Continuing to stay involved, Palmateer found herself in Virginia and coaching full-time. Palmateer then spent 10 years on the coaching staff at North Carolina State, followed by a period at Seton Hall as the recruiting coordinator.

With an eight-game winning streak under their belts, the Hawks are having quite a successful season with an 11-9 record to date. “The winning streak was phenomenal,” stated Palmateer. “Things are coming together and the team is working very hard.” It is apparent that the team’s hard work is paying off and they deserve each win that comes their way.

Being a N.J. native, Palmateer is more than happy to finally be back in her home state. Having a lot of family in this area is a great support system for the new head coach. Aside from being back in her home state, she is very pleased to be part of the University’s coaching family. “I love it,” explained Palmateer. “I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start my head coaching career.” With her family nearby and the support of the University’s coaching staff, Palmateer feels very fortunate to have been given this opportunity.

Although Palmateer is coaching at a new facility, it does not mean that she has given up on her coaching style.  She may have felt that it was an interesting transition coming to the University; however, “I’ve stayed true to who I am. I believe in teaching, empowering, and encouraging,” stated Palmateer. She feels very special to have been accepted so well by the staff that has been worked with her. Palmateer also feels very lucky to have a team of girls who not only work hard on the court, but also with their schoolwork. “There has to be a balance between the two,” described Palmateer. “They all understand the balance between basketball and school.”

When describing how she felt about her first season so far, Palmateer used “relieved” and “proud” to describe the feeling. Coming into a team that has already had success can be intimidating.

However, Palmateer was not afraid of stepping in to bring the team even more success. Not wanting any setbacks, Palmateer made sure to push her team trying to not let the new changes affect the girls’ playing. With all of their continued success also comes pride in her team. “Each player has been working very hard,” explained Palmateer. “With 13 active players and only five spots on the court at a time, they continue to work together with-out animosity towards people playing.”

Coach Palmateer continues to pass along the advice and wisdom that was passed along to her throughout her basketball career. As a coach and a person, she tries to instill a positive mentality into her players about not only coaching basketball, but also about teaching life lessons.