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Nusseibeh looking to rebuild women's basketball back into contender


Sahar Nusseibeh was officially introduced as the next Canisius women's basketball coach on Tuesday. Adam Gorski/The Griffin


By Adam Gorski


The Sahar Nusseibeh era has officially begun for the Canisius women’s basketball team.


The Griffs’ new head coach was formally introduced during a press conference at the Koessler Athletic Center on Tuesday, making her the 10th coach in program history.

Nusseibeh steps into her first head coaching gig after working as the defensive coordinator for the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks for the past two seasons. She takes over for Scott Hemer, who stepped down as Canisius head coach in June. She brings both her defensive intensity, as well as her affinity for recruiting, to Canisius in hopes to rebuild a program that has struggled in recent years. In order to spark that rebuild though, she made it clear: it begins with people.


“I’m a firm believer in people and relationships, I think relationships are everything,” Nusseibeh said. “That’s exactly what the vision of Canisius women’s basketball is going to be: people who give to one another, people who invest in one another. We’re going to get back tenfold, we’re going to build this the right way, we’re going to lay down this strong foundation, that culture, in the locker room first.”


The last time the Griffs finished with an overall record over .500 was in the 2008-09 season, so any relative success while Nusseibeh begins her rebuilding tenure would be a major change in fortune. She has a vision on how she intends for her team to play, and to no surprise, her passion for the defensive side of the floor plays a big part in that.


“We’re going to play an up-tempo game … we’re going to have a lot of trust in our players,” Nusseibeh said. “Defensively, I’m a defensive minded person, we are going to be extremely aggressive. Ball pressure is going to be a top priority for us. We’re going to disrupt offensive flow and we’re going to maintain discipline within our system and principles.”


Prior to her time at Miami (Ohio), Nusseibeh was the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Manhattan from 2016-2019, meaning she has experience within the MAAC already -- experience she believes will be vital to her success.


“I think it’s a huge advantage for me, and I’m very happy Bill (Maher) recognized that,” she said. “Coming in with Heather Vulin, she just entrusted me with so much and I saw all the work that it took to be successful in the MAAC. It really does start with how hard you work, and your recruiting ability. Who is your future? What is your future? That vision has to be so clear.”


Her passion for recruiting was apparent throughout her remarks as she emphasized that a rebuild and success begins with bringing in the right people and firstly looking locally and in areas closeby like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which she described as a hotbed for young talent in women’s basketball.


“We want everybody, locally and regionally, to know who Canisius women’s basketball is and to know what we’re about, and that’s people and building the right way,” Nusseibeh said. “There is nothing like being able to offer a young woman in high school and her family a full college scholarship, and I was able to do that yesterday.”


Nusseibeh has already begun assimilating into her new role, hosting practice sessions over the past couple of days and getting to know her players. As the 2021-22 season inches closer, the Griffs will hope to lay down the first bricks of a fresh culture, one that their new coach is already beginning to build.



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