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November 21, 2013

Wehner always a winner

After stellar playing career, CCS star moves into coaching at RPI

Former Cooperstown star Jen Wehner’s basketball career has been about the transition game. Now she is transitioning into college coaching. 

Wehner ascended with awe-inspiring ease from a high school career to a record breaking college career at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. 

This season she will begin a new career, pacing the sidelines at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy as a women’s assistant coach. 

One of her biggest challenges will be adjusting from working with teammates to working with her players. 

As a player, Wehner acknowledges, “I never left the floor. I played all the way through the game, so putting people in and subbing them out is a completely new experience for me.” 

She’s said she is getting better at it, but in the beginning, she remembers saying to herself, “oh wow, this is a lot harder than I thought.”

“She was always clicked in, always made eye contact with me, always was interactive signalling,” said CCS coach Mike Niles about Wehner, his 6-foot tall captain, who graduated in 2008. “Some basketball practice drills can be boring,” he admits, “but she was always focused. Completely engaged.” 

Niles’ first year coaching at Cooperstown coincided with Wehner’s senior year. 

“Jen came up to varsity halfway through her sophmore year. She was one of two top level forwards on the team that year,” he said. 

“Jen is just tremendously athletic, and very aggressive on the court,” he added. 

When asked how Wehner performed under pressure, Niles said, “during the season, Jen averaged about 14 points a game, post-season that number was more around 19. She rises to the challenge. She was impossible to guard, because I hardly ever ran plays with her. Jen had such dominating rebounding skills, she always provided her team with second chance points in the paint. Honestly, one of our best strategies was to have other teammates attempt a basket so Jen could get the rebound. That was one of her greatest skills, amazing rebounder.” 

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