FAIRMONT, W.Va. — For the first time in two decades, the Fairmont State women’s basketball team will enter a season under new leadership. Morgantown High School graduate Stephanie Anderson was introduced Monday as the program’s seventh head coach.

Anderson replaces Steve McDonald, who retired in March as the Falcons’ all-time wins leader with 367 victories. Anderson has served as an assistant coach at FSU for the last seasons.

“I want to thank Coach Mac for bringing me here five years ago,” Anderson said. “I quickly learned over my five years how special this place truly is.”

Anderson was named as the interim head coach while the search for McDonald’s successor was underway.

“It has been quite a journey with this process over the past few weeks,” Anderson said. “The interview process allowed me to get all my thoughts and my goals put on paper.”

Stephanie Anderson’s introduction and interview
“One of the biggest things is relationships,” Anderson said. “You truly want to build relationships so players will run through a wall for you. Knowing that the girls support me and they trusted me to be their leader, it means the world.”

Anderson posted an impressive resume in her playing career. She was a sophomore on Morgantown’s 2007 state championship team and she was named Class AAA state tournament most outstanding player.

Anderson went on to play in 116 games at California University of Pennsylvania. She scored 914 points and played on three NCAA Tournament teams. In her senior season in 2012-2013, Anderson led the Vulcans in scoring at 14.2 points per game.

The Falcons finished 13-16 this past season. It was their first losing season since 2001-2002. Fairmont returns four starters and their top four scorers, including Morgantown High School graduate Rachel Laskody.

“The girls want to win the MEC regular season title and the tournament championship and move on to the NCAA’s,” Anderson said. “We don’t want a spring break. We want to be competing regionally year in and year out.”

“We loved her energy, we loved her plan and we loved her vision for Fairmont State women’s basketball,” said FSU director of athletics Chad Fowler. “To her, this is not a job, it is a lifestyle.”

Anderson expects her teams to play an aggressive style of defense. “Pushing the tempo a little bit, creating more of an edge on defense, those are things I want to get to,” Anderson said. “I am excited about the pace of play getting sped up a little bit with this group of girls.”

“Fairmont is my home and I couldn’t be more excited to start my career anywhere else,” Anderson said.