Jennifer Mountain became the eighth Santa Clara University head
women's basketball coach in April 2008. Mountain has done a
remarkable job creating a culture of academic and athletic success
at Santa Clara.
She has improved the team’s win-total in each of the last four seasons, while her student-athletes have garnered local, regional and national recognition stemming from their academic achievements and the program’s commitment to community service.
Her fifth season saw the Broncos pick up the most wins in Mountain's time at Santa Clara. The Brocnos won 14 games overall and six in the West Coast Conference. The Broncos played three teams that made the NCAA Tournament (Stanford, Gonzaga and Fresno State). Santa Clara beat Fresno State 58-53 on Dec. 29, 2012. Senior forward Lindsay Leo was named All-WCC while senior guard Meagan Fulps was honorable mention. In addition, Fulps and Ruta Zurauskyte were named to the WCC All-Academic Team and Ricki Radanovich and Nici Gilday were honorable mention.
Mountain and her 2011-12 team won six of its first seven games,
the program’s best start in over 10 years. SCU finished with
12 wins, the team posted a collective GPA of 3.12 and a league-best
three student-athletes were named to the 2012 WCC All-Academic
Team. Additionally, Mountain and record-breaking senior guard
Alyssa Shoji made a trip to the NCAA Men’s Final Four in New
Orleans, where Shoji competed in the 2012 State Farm College Slam
Dunk & 3-Point Championships, which aired live on ESPN.
In her third season at SCU, 2010-11, Mountain led the Broncos to a top-tier finish in the WCC standings and for the third-straight year won at least one postseason game at the conference tournament. The team climbed up the league standings in 2010-11, finishing in a tie for fourth after winning 4 of 7 WCC games at home and winning 11 games overall. Mountain's team closed out the season with a 9-9 record in their last 18 games, including winning back-to-back WCC games twice and beating rival USF at the WCC tournament in March.
SCU ended the 2009-10 season in grand fashion at the 2010 WCC tournament, becoming the first No. 8 seed in tournament history to advance into the semifinals. It started a trend for Mountain's teams, peaking when it matters most. In her first year on the Mission Campus, Mountain guided the Broncos into the quarterfinals of the WCC tournament after routing rival Saint Mary's 82-55.
Mountain's SCU program is setting the standard for community service and academic achievement within the framework of intercollegiate athletics. Some of her team’s achievements at SCU include:
- Had four players recognized on the 2013 WCC All-Academic Team - 10 players post GPA's above 3.0
- SCU Bronco Athletics 'Community Service Team of the Year' for three straight years 2009-pres.
- Guided by head coach Jennifer Mountain, the Broncos have continuously worked closely with the Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI) – earning the ‘Best of BAWSI’ award in the fall of 2008
- Breast Cancer Awareness efforts include the annual Play 4Kay Game, and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk
- Given the 2012 READ award by Santa Clara University, an honor given by the SCU library, recognizing an on-campus group or individual that shows a passion for information literacy
- SCU women’s basketball was honored by the city of Sunnyvale, Calif., for outstanding community service at a city council meeting during April of 2010
- SCU has partnered with over 15 community organizations alone through their 'Bronco Community Challenge' initiative
- Mentored young women at the 16th annual Sunnyvale Basketball Shoot Off
- SCU women’s basketball helped raise over $4,200 for the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund in January 2010
“Jen understands what Santa Clara is all about,”
said Santa Clara Athletic Director Dan Coonan. “It’s
about competitive basketball but it’s about so much more than
that. Educating men and women for competence, conscience, and
compassion -- that’s what Santa Clara really stands for. We
believe that and live that here. I think Jen is the perfect person
who embodies those kinds of values.”
Mountain’s commitment to the Jesuit calling of community service takes the team and its players to a pair of local elementary schools each week. Partnering with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI), cofounded by SCU alumnus Brandi Chastain (‘90), the players are given the opportunity to influence the lives of young female athletes.
Her SCU program was given the first ‘Best of BAWSI Award’ for the team’s involvement in the lives of students in the San Jose and Santa Clara school districts. The coaching staff has taken the initiative to team up with over 15 community organizations, creating unique game day sponsorships and developing the ‘Bronco Community Challenge,’ which uses SCU basketball as the venue to strengthen the sense of community in the South Bay.
“It’s been very important for me since the time I was hired to get people involved in the program and back into the stands,” said Mountain. “The entire staff has done a great job with it. I am really happy with what we have done so far and it’s something we can build on.”
Mayor Melinda Hamilton of Sunnyvale presented the Santa Clara University athletic department and Mountain’s women's basketball program with a certificate of appreciation for outstanding community service in the spring of 2010. The award stemmed from SCU’s participation in the 16th annual Sunnyvale Basketball Shoot Off, where the team volunteered at the event in which 330 youngsters participated.
Also during the 2009-10 season, her team initiated a fund-raising drive which helped collect $4,200 for the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund.
Mountain came to the Mission Campus after serving seven seasons as the top assistant coach at Gonzaga, where she helped the Bulldogs to four-straight West Coast Conference regular season championships and one WCC tournament crown.
While at Gonzaga, Mountain helped turn the Bulldogs from a 2-12 WCC record in 2001-02 to four-time regular-season champion. The Bulldogs compiled a 140-79 overall record and a league mark of 72-40 when Mountain rejoined the coaching staff. Gonzaga advanced to the NCAA Tournament once and twice advanced to the Women's NIT, and in 2005 garnered the school's first national ranking.
Mountain, a 1991 Gonzaga graduate, worked as an assistant under Julie Holt and helped recruit and coach many of the players that guided the Bulldogs to their first WNIT appearance in 1994.
From 1994-2001, she served as the head boys' basketball coach at Saint George's School in Spokane, where they compiled a 134-62 overall record. In 1996 and 2001, Mountain coached the Dragons to a pair of Panorama League Tournament titles. In those two seasons, the Dragons were the Washington State Class B Tournament runner-up in 1996 and 2001. In their only other State B Tournament appearance under Mountain, the Dragons finished seventh.
Under her tutelage, Saint George's also advanced to the District 7 Tournament five times, finishing in the top four three times including winning the 1996 title. Mountain returned to Gonzaga as an assistant coach in 2001.
Mountain became a double alumna of Gonzaga in 1999 when she received a masters degree in athletic administration. She also holds a bachelors degree in physical education and health. Following her first stint as assistant coach, Mountain also served as the head coach for the boys and girls' track and girls' volleyball teams at Saint George's, and was a volunteer assistant basketball coach at Spokane's Whitworth College.
A native of Portland, Ore., Mountain scored 1,422 points in her Gonzaga career, including 465 points her senior season of 1990-91. She ranks in the top 10 in school history for career field goals made, 3-point field goals made, free throws made, assists and steals. She was also a three-time first-team All-West Coast Conference selection while earning honorable mention National Jesuit News Academic All-America team honors.
The Jen Mountain
• Head Coach - Santa Clara University (2008-pres.)
• Assistant Coach- Gonzaga University (2001-08)
• Boys Head Coach - St. George's School (1994-2001)
• Amateur Player - Gonzaga University (1987-91)