Saint Joseph’s women’s basketball head coach Cindy Griffin has announced two additions to her staff as former Hawk standout Sarah Fairbanks ’16 has been named director of women’s basketball operations and MyNeshia McKenzie joins the program as video specialist.
Fairbanks returns to Hawk Hill after spending last year as director of basketball operations at Colgate. In her season with the Raiders, Fairbanks was part of a coaching staff that helped the program to its most wins in over a decade, while guiding Rachel Thompson to both All-Patriot Second Team and All-Defensive Team honors.
Prior to Colgate, Fairbanks played professionally for two years in Ireland and Greece. Continuing her playing career following her standout career with the Hawks, Fairbanks helped Dublin City University to the 2017 Intervarsities Championship and was named the NBCC Women's D1 Player of the Year in 2016-17, while coaching an Irish Under 20s team to National Cup and Dublin Cup victories as part of Sports Changes Lives. In 2017-18, she joined former SJU classmate Ciara Andrews in the starting lineup for Olympiakos Volou.
A four-year letterwinner, Fairbanks capped her stellar career as just the second player in SJU history to score more than 1,000 points, grab 600 rebounds and block 100 shots. A two-time All-Big 5 honoree, two-time Big 5 Most Improved Player and 2016 Big 5 Scholar Athlete, she ranks 21st all-time in career points (1,064), 12th in rebounds (636) and third in blocked shots (113).
A native of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, Fairbanks helped lead the Hawks to two NCAA Tournament appearances and the 2013 Atlantic 10 Championship. Following the completion of her basketball career at SJU, she joined the track & field team, setting new records in both the discus and the shot put. Graduating with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary health services, Fairbanks was also honored as Saint Joseph's Class of 1950 Award recipient in 2016.
“We are thrilled to have Sarah back in our program as our director of basketball operations. Sarah's experience as a former player at SJU, playing overseas and working in Division I athletics at Colgate this past season has prepared her for this opportunity,” said Griffin. “Sarah's ability to relate to the players, coaches, alumni and fans set her apart from candidates. We look forward to great things from Sarah!”
McKenzie comes to Hawk Hill after spending the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Holy Family. During her tenure, she helped a pair of Tigers earn All-CACC accolades, while five student-athletes were named to the CACC All-Academic Team.
Before beginning her coaching career, McKenzie played professionally for three seasons, the most recent coming with the Phoenix Galati in Romania from 2015-17. Capturing All-Import and All-League First Team honors, she was named 2016 Forward of the Year. McKenzie began her professional career in 2014-15 as a member of Boa Viagem in Portugal, earning All-Import and All-League First Team honors after leading her team in scoring and rebounding.
A native of Springfield, Pennsylvania, McKenzie starred at Rider from 2010-14 as she capped her career as the program's all-time leader in rebounds with 1,143 and ranked third in program history with 1,619 career points. A two-time All-MAAC First Team standout, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication.
“MyNeshia brings a strong résumé of coaching and playing overseas to our video position,” Griffin said. “She is a local player who starred at Rider under Coach Lynn Milligan, a former assistant of mine. MyNeshia's analytic ability, along with her high basketball IQ makes her a perfect fit for this position. We look forward to great things from MyNeshia!”
Fairbanks replaces Christina Foggie, who transitioned to director of special projects within the SJU athletic department, while McKenzie joins the staff in a full-time capacity.