Youth no obstacle as Stephanie Agger, 24, gains college head coaching job

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During her playing career, Stephanie Agger saw the game of basketball a bit differently than many other players. In addition to the talent, there was an ahead-of-her-years cerebral part of the game that many of her peers simply didn’t posses.

Now that her playing career has been over for a couple of years, Agger continues to move ahead of the curve in the game of basketball.

Agger, a 2007 graduate of Lower Cape May, has been named the new head women’s basketball coach at Division III Penn State Abington, located a few miles outside Northeast Philadelphia. At age 24, Agger is certainly among the youngest head women’s college basketball coaches in the country at any level.

“I interviewed (last) Wednesday and they called me on Friday to tell me they were offering me the job and that I had the weekend to think about it. But I really didn’t need the weekend to think about it,” Agger said with a laugh.

Penn State Abington officially made the announcement on its web site Tuesday afternoon.

“Stephanie Agger brings a wealth of knowledge and a track record for success to the Abington athletic department,” PSU Abington athletic director Shawne McCoy said in a statement on the school’s athletic website. “We are pleased to welcome Stephanie to the Nittany Lion coaching staff and feel that she will be an excellent role model for our student-athletes. I look forward to working with her as we continue to build our women's basketball program.”

Agger finished a successful playing career at Division II Philadelphia University in 2012. Philly U won 75 games and one Central Collegiate Athletic Conference title in her four years as a player. She was twice an all-conference selection and finished her college career with 1,078 points and 405 rebounds and is ranked third all-time in program history in steals with 226 and fifth all-time in assists with 339. She managed to put up those numbers despite missing a full year of basketball due to a partially torn Achilles tendon.

Agger spent last basketball season as one of the youngest high school coaches in the region. She served as the head girls basketball coach at John W. Hallahan High School of the Philadelphia Catholic League.

“I knew toward the end of when I was playing that I wanted to coach in general,” Agger said. “Last year coaching in high school, I definitely realized that I really wanted to coach but I wanted to be at a higher level. High school was great, but in college obviously the level of competition and the skill set is much higher, and I love that. I liked high school and I really enjoyed being at Hallahan, but I wanted to be in the college atmosphere.”

Agger takes over a program that has struggled a bit in recent years. The team went winless two years ago before going 9-16 last winter. PSU Abington competes in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC).

“Last year they competed pretty well in conference,” Agger said. “They were pretty comparable within the league but when they went outside the league it was a lot tougher. My job’s going to be to improve with the players we have and recruit hard and try to get kids that some of the other (better Division III) schools are getting.”

Agger, who scored 1,001 career points as a high school player, was inducted into the Lower Cape May Regional High School athletic Hall of Fame last winter. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in business administration from Philadelphia University.

In addition to coaching high school basketball at Hallahan, Agger also gained coaching experience through various high school and college basketball camps. Obviously, however, she’s now coaching at a rather high level at a young age.

“There’s definitely pressure,” Agger said. “But right now I’m ready for the task that’s been presented to me. I have a lot of support for me within the basketball community and I know if I need to ask questions I can go to people for that. I know I don’t have the experience but you can’t get the experience unless you get an opportunity to gain that experience. I was a student-athlete, got my degree and played basketball at a pretty high level. I’m going to try to implement what I did that helped me be successful. That’s how I plan on doing it.”

Agger currently resides in Chester, Pa. She is engaged to Division III Widener University men’s basketball coach Chris Carideo, a graduate of St. Augustine Prep.

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