WORCESTER -- WPI head women's soccer coach Steph Riley-Schafer announces the hiring of Melissa Hart as the program's co-head coach.
No stranger to the NEWMAC, Hart was the head coach of MIT in both women's soccer and women's basketball for six years from 1997-98 until 2002-03 and is one of only two people in conference history to earn NEWMAC Coach of the Year accolades in both sports. Her time on the soccer field in Cambridge was highlighted by a three-year stretch between 2000 and 2002 when the Engineers won 38 games, including three NEWMAC Tournament matches, and made an appearance in the 2002 conference final. Hart also served as an associate professor of Physical Education and Wellness at the Institute.
"I am very excited to have Melissa join our staff this fall, stated Riley-Schafer. "She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our program. Her coaching philosophy aligns well with our team's core values. I know our players will grow, develop, and find success under her leadership."
After leaving MIT, Hart made a four-year stop in Boston where she was the head coach of Emerson women's basketball for four years and a volunteer coach of the Emerson soccer team for two seasons.
On the way to Worcester, Hart served as the Belmont High School head basketball coach for 12 seasons overseeing a varsity and two sub-varsity programs. In that timeframe, Hart led her team to three league titles including an undefeated campaign. Just last fall, Hart assisted the women's varsity soccer team focusing on goalkeeper training with overall duties of the program.
"I am really looking forward to getting this opportunity to help coach the WPI soccer team with a standout coach like Steph, other coaches, and especially, the student-athletes," remarked Hart. "Steph's devotion to the student-athletes, her expertise while displaying integrity, along with many other positive qualities I have already noticed, are evident in the fantastic team and culture Steph has built. In past years I have admired and respected WPI from opposing sidelines, and now I am so fortunate to get the chance to be on WPI's side on and off the field."
Hart was a two-sport All-America in women's soccer and women's basketball as a student-athlete at Hamilton and still holds school records in both sports. She kicked off her collegiate coaching career at her alma mater where she obtained roles as the head soccer, assistant basketball, and interim head softball coach within a three-year period, including earning UCAA Women's Soccer Coach of the Year honors. In addition, the multi-dimensional Hart served as a physical education instructor for undergraduate and graduate students.
Outside of coaching and organizing sport, Hart contributed to the Partners in Health Contact Tracing Team in Massachusetts, served as an adjunct professor at Lasell, and taught English as a second language at California Institute of Language in Kitakyushu, Japan.
Hart earned her bachelor of arts degree in English literature at Hamilton and collected her master of science degree in exercise and sport studies from Smith.
Other responsibilities Hart has held in the town of Belmont include Recreation Commission Board Member, Town Liaison and Board Member for Boston Area Youth Sports (BAYS) and Town League Coordinator for Belmont Soccer Association (BSA) and Belmont Second Soccer (BSS).