Melissa D’Amico, who has gathered nearly 10 years of playing and coaching experience throughout her career, was named an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Yale women’s basketball team in June of 2015. She joined the staff under Class of 1954, Joel E. Smilow head coach Allison Guth.
Coach D’Amico was named a recipient of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association “Thirty under 30” award after her first year with the Bulldogs. Following the 2015-16 season she led a service trip to Kenya through the Simba Educational Ministry. She brought along 2016-17 captain, Elizabeth Haley, and some of her former Colgate players.
Before Yale, D’Amico concluded her second season as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Colgate University. She served as the program’s top assistant and was an integral part in leading the Raiders to their best season since the 2003-04 Patriot League Championship team.
While at Colgate, she helped the team achieve its best conference winning percentage since 2005-06. During the two seasons, the Raiders had their highest win total in a decade and hosted a Patriot League tournament game for the first time since 2003-04.
The Raiders made program history in a number of categories while D’Amico was an assistant, including their highest free throw percentage, their highest giving rate of alumni while funding a trip to New Zealand, and the first-ever win over Holy Cross on its home floor.
D’Amico made an immediate impact at Colgate, co-directing all recruiting efforts and landing eight players within two classes, which included the 2014 Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year.
With five years of professional playing experience in Europe dating back to 2008, D’Amico has proven to be a successful developer of post players. She mentored Second Team All-Patriot League player Carole Harris to a nine-point, five-rebound statistical increase over one year.
Also under D’Amico’s tutelage, Josie Stockill was selected to the New Zealand National Team during the summer of 2014. Stockill finished the season as the second-leading scorer for the Raiders and has recently broken Colgate’s all-time blocked shots record.
D’Amico has participated in a variety of other duties as well, serving as the leading scout for upcoming opponents while also acting as video coordinator. While at Colgate, she oversaw and controlled all aspects of social media, designed and ordered all Nike contracted equipment, coordinated ongoing community service efforts, and supervised team managers and practice players.
Outside of basketball, D’Amico served as a liaison with the Fellowship For Christian Athletes (FCA), a program that was facilitated and established through her and a group of current Colgate student-athletes.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, D’Amico started 58 of 119 games for the Irish. She received Big East Player of the Week honors in both 2006 and 2007. In her four-year career, Notre Dame was ranked as high as fourth in the nation, made an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, and was 90-39 overall.
Coach Roman Owen began coaching at Yale in 2015. Owen is part of the process of laying down a new foundation for the Bulldogs under the direction of Class of 1954, Joel E. Smillow head coach Allison Guth. His basketball responsibilities include coaching the point guards and wings, assisting with practice plans, scouting reports of opponents, film breakdown, and monitor all conditioning workouts.
In his first season with the Bulldogs, he was a part of the team that posted 14 victories while competing vs. one of the toughest non-conferences schedules in the country along with a stout Ivy League slate.
In 2015-2016, he helped mentor sophomore Tamara Simpson who set a 32-year Yale record by breaking the program's single-season mark for steals. Racking up 90 in her second year, the eighth-most in league history.
Simpson was selected 11 times for the Ivy League honor roll. Owen also helped guide senior team captain Whitney Wyckoff to five selections on the Ivy League honor roll. Wyckoff finished seventh in the league with 3.0 assists per game.
Before Yale, Owen spent two seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners under Hall of Fame coach Sherri Coale. There he assisted with day-to-day scouting, editing and inspirational leadership as the video coordinator. While part of the staff, Oklahoma reached two consecutive NCAA Tournaments. Owen also scouted and broke-down game film of all 66 opponents for Coale’s staff.
From 2010 to 2013, Owen served as the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Mid-America Christian University. He directed all aspects of the NAIA program, including practices, live scouting, film exchange, academic success, player development, strength and conditioning and the budget.
Under Owen’s direction, Mid-America Christian posted a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in each of the three seasons. In his three years at MACU he led the program to 41 total victories being a part of the Sooner Athletic Conference which is one of the strongest NAIA conferences in the country. In 2011, he coached the program to an NCCAA Regional Championship and consolation championship at the NCCAA National Tournament.
Prior to his stay at Mid-America Christian, Owen served as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team at Oklahoma City University for two seasons. He assisted in all aspects of the program while helping to lead the Stars to a 32-26 overall record, including an appearance in the NAIA National Tournament in 2010.
Owen earned his Master of Arts in Education at the University of Central Oklahoma in July of 2009. He graduated from Southwestern Christian University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies.
While at Southwestern Christian, he became the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,802 points and was named the Pete Maravich NCCAA Player of the Year in 2007-08. Owen helped lead his team to two consecutive NCCAA National Championship games.
Owen resides in New Haven with his wife, Natalie. They are the proud parents of their daughter, Olivia.
With nearly 10 years of collegiate basketball playing and coaching experience in the state of Connecticut, Jacinda Dunbar joined the Bulldogs’ staff as an assistant coach in July of 2015, her first coaching job in Division I basketball.
She comes to Yale fresh-off a two-year stint as an assistant coach for the Wesleyan women’s basketball team. With the Cardinals, Dunbar gained experience in all facets of the game, including recruiting, practice coordination, fundraising, scouting, film exchange and travel plans.
While in Middletown, Conn., she also served as an Athletic Department Intern, supervising game management tasks at athletic events and assisting the athletics staff as a teaching assistant in physical education classes.
Prior to Wesleyan, Dunbar spent one year as assistant coach for the Southern Connecticut State University women’s basketball team in the 2012-13 season. She prepared scouting reports, designed workout regimens, assisted with recruiting efforts, planned team travel and monitored academic progression for the Owls.
Of several camp experiences, Dunbar supervised and coached collegiate prospects at the Yale University Elite Basketball Camp under former Bulldogs’ head coach, Chris Gobrecht. She also coordinated the Wesleyan Women’s Basketball Collegiate Camp for collegiate prospects throughout the country.
Dunbar earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Quinnipiac University in 2012 and a Master of Art in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan in 2015.
She played basketball at Quinnipiac under longtime head coach, Tricia Sacca-Fabbri, and compiled a 60-55 record as a student-athlete. Dunbar served as team captain in her senior season after averaging nearly 10 points per game in her sophomore and junior seasons.