Just recently, Portland State excitedly welcomed new assistant women’s basketball coach Jennifer Mountain into the athletics department.
“Hands down I’ve found the best person and coach for this program,” head coach Sherri Murrell said in regards to hiring Mountain. “I have known Jennifer for a very long time and her character, class and integrity is second to none. Her experienced background in coaching will help us immediately. She cares about the student-athlete’s growth both on and off the court and I can’t wait for her to help our players excel.”
Prior to taking on her position at PSU, Mountain spent six seasons as the head coach for the Santa Clara Broncos in California. During her time there, she improved her team’s win total, and acquired both local and national attention for her commitment to making sure that each of her players are successful both on and off the court. She stresses student academic success, and even encourages her team to engage in community service.
“I share in coach Murrell’s vision in developing the entire student-athlete,” Mountain said. “Academic success is critical for our athletes. They must succeed in the classroom and we will focus on developing great relationships with the community surrounding us. I also believe that if you are happy and have great life balance you tend to get more from your athletes. This is a way to share in the whole person and not just on the court.”
Not only does Mountain have a strong track record of raising her team’s grades, but their point totals as well. During her time at Santa Clara, her players earned three All-WCC Freshman Team selections, two All-WCC First Team selections, five WCC Honorable Mention selections, seven WCC All-Academic selections, and three 1,000-point seasons. During her time as assistant coach at Gonzaga University, she raised the team’s 2–12 WCC record to an impressive 140–70 overall record and a league mark of 72–40.
Prior to her work as a coach, Mountain played for Gonzaga University and scored a total of 1,422 points during her time playing college ball. She ranked in the top ten in school history for career field goals made, 3-point goals made, free throws made, assists and steals. While she may have gone to school up in Spokane, Mountain is a Portland native.
“I am really excited about joining this talented staff and becoming a part of a great future here at Portland State,” Mountain said. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to come home, be close to my family and work with such great student-athletes. This is a great fit for me at this time in my life and I am really looking forward to this opportunity.”
The Vanguard asked Mountain how she felt about next season’s team. She said, “This is a special group of young women, who have a great foundation built. Now we need to elevate our program by working extremely hard in the off-season and developing individually.”
In the two weeks that she has been working with the team, she feels that there is already a difference. She said, “[The players’] workouts have changed and we are focused on developing great relationships with the team. I believe this is the foundation for our success: relationships.”
Not only does Mountain want to help build a strong team dynamic, but also their chances at getting back into the NCAA tournament. “It is a good time to be a Viking,” she said, “and I think the fans, athletic department and the community will enjoy watching this team play next season.”