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  • Hannah Wiley

Coach Sahar Nusseibeh: Leading on the Court and in the Community

By: Hannah Wiley, Assistant Features Editor 

There are many women on campus who deserve to be recognized for all they do, from professors to students. One person, in particular, exemplifies what it means to be a leader, a friend, a coach and so much more. The women’s basketball coach, Sahar Nusseibeh, has taken her time at Canisius to build a team like no other, all while uniting the Canisius community through athletics. She takes her time as a coach at other universities and her values off the court to inspire everyone around her on a daily basis. 

Nusseibeh was born and raised in Ohio: “The East Coast was a change of pace for me, and having teammates from all over the world helped me grow as a person and as a college athlete,” she said. Nusseibeh attended American University where she was a student-athlete. “It was pretty challenging in terms of my experience, but I learned so much and I grew so much from my time at American… That was a pretty powerful experience for me,” she explained. Her experiences in college as a student-athlete have translated into the incredible coach she is today.

She also talked highly of the people in her life who helped her mold into not only an amazing coach, but also the person she is. There is one person in particular Nusseibeh accredited with who she is today — specifically the coach she is — and that's Manhattan women’s basketball coach Heather Vulin. Before Canisius, Nusseibeh worked as the assistant coach at Manhattan alongside Vulin, who the Griffs faced recently on Thursday, March 14 in the quarterfinals of the MAAC Tournament. The Griffs ended up winning 58–55, making this win even more meaningful, as it’s the first time Nusseibeh beat her former colleague and mentor. Nusseibeh spoke about how her three years at Manhattan gave her “a lot of ownership and responsibility,” how the coaching staff helped her grow as an assistant coach and that by the end of her time, she had made it to associate head coach. She went on to say that Vulin focuses on “not only empowering her student-athletes, but empowering her staff.” Through her coaching at Canisius, Nusseibeh brought these values with her, and it has paid off both on and off the court for the Canisius community.

As a coach and a member of the Canisius community, coach Nusseibeh strives to support, educate, teach and challenge the young girls on her team and the young people of the Canisius. Nusseibeh talked about how the women’s basketball team is more than the sport — it’s the players and the coaching staff that make it. The team has intricate parts from managers to fans that also help to make the team a powerhouse on the court and also an integral part of the community.

Off the court and outside of basketball, Nusseibeh has her own personal goals of spending more time on hobbies such as traveling and hiking. She spoke about an impromptu trip to Machu Picchu over the summer; “It was crazy, we talked about it on Friday and on Monday we were flying to Peru,” Nusseibeh said. While in Peru, she went on a three-to four-day hike along the Indian Trail that ended at Machu Picchu. 

Nusseibeh also discussed how a lot of her personal goals have to do with the team. Going into the MAACs and the next season, Nusseibeh has goals for the team to get better every year. While, yes, that means winning, to Nusseibeh it also means improving the culture within the team and what they do in the classroom and around campus.   

Coach Sahar Nusseibeh is someone who exemplifies what it means to be a leader every day of the year, which is why it’s especially important to recognize her hard work and dedication to both the Women’s Basketball team as well as the rest of the Canisius community. She takes what it means to be a Golden Griffin and makes it into so much more than our alma mater: she makes it a family.  

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