Montclair State University’s Assistant Head Coach, Courtney Cunningham; an All American Honors in Basketball and Lacrosse. Cunningham attended Drew University where she gained a special friendship with Coach Karin Harvey. The two best friends now work together leading the Montclair State women’s basketball team to NJACS Champs multiple years in a row.
Cunningham was a superstar on the courts and in her studies receiving dean’s list all four years. She was named Rookie of the Year in 2004 and named MAC’s player of the year in 2007. She attended the Middle Atlantic Athletics Conference three times.
While Courtney was in her senior year at Drew University, Coach Harvey became the head coach that year for the women’s basketball team. The two got a close bond from her senior year, “We would go back and forth at each other a little bit what I thought and she would really listen.”, said Cunningham. Besides Cunningham’s parents she never had anyone else besides Coach Harvey who was honest and would really listen to what she had to say. She immediately valued the bond she had with Coach Harvey from the start.
“She came in my senior year and shook things up and made us work really hard to the point where she had us bought in really quickly”, said Cunningham. The whole team trusted her judgement as a coach when they saw how much she was pushing them to their full potentials. They never questioned her on her judgements on things, because they believed her word and she would always explain why she wanted it that way to the team.
Cunningham after her senior year had ended at Drew University. She received her bachelors in political science with a minor in business management. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she went over to The Stevens Institute and coached a year of basketball there.
She knew she wanted to be in higher education and Harvey told her if she got her masters to come over to coach at Montclair State. After that it was all over for her “I love coaching here this is my 10th year here”, said Cunningham. She fell in love with coaching and being able to be there for the girls on the team with their academics too. She loves getting to see the growth of the girls from freshman year to senior year not just from basketball, but also as adults.
“She is still one of the best players the team respects her for her playing ability and she can approach things as a player’s perspective while I come at it as a coach.”, said Coach Harvey
As a coach she tries to develop a close relationship with the players, she believes it is very important to ask questions and invest time into getting to know the players outside of basketball. By asking the players what is going on in their lives as far as their families and school, because one thing effects the other. She learned this from Coach Harvey, when she was a senior, Coach would always ask her questions wanting to know specifics to really be a part of her life outside of basketball.
“Outside of basketball she talks to us about our lives and what’s going on with us daily. She does it out of the goodness of her heart, because she is concerned about our well-being and how we are feeling day to day.”, said Janae Mayfield, Junior, Montclair State University.
As two coaches, Harvey and Cunningham have a very special bond thru all of these years together. From Cunningham playing in college being coached by Harvey to now, both of them coaching together.
“Even though I am head coach and she is the assistant coach it’s not like that it’s like a partnership, the two of us. We have been running this program for 10 years and built it into something that we both have a lot of pride of.”, said Coach Harvey.
Outside of basketball the two share a very close friendship. They go on family vacations together and talk every day. Coach Harvey has a chocolate lab named Jersey that Cunningham loves to play with when she is over and dog sit.
“My parents basically call her their adopted daughter. They love her sometimes I think they may like her more than me, which is fair, because she probably is better.”, said Cunningham.
The two as coaches work very well together, which is what has made the team so successful through the years. Being NJAC Champs five years in a row now.
As partners, they both complement each other by having the same opinions, but coming at it in different perspectives. They both appreciate each other’s feedback and Cunningham values that as an assistant coach. “I’m never coaching with anyone else”, said Cunningham.
“She’s one of my best friends… To get to share basketball with her is one of the best parts of my job.” said Coach Harvey.
Montclair State | New Jersey