Women’s basketball head coach Alyssa Polosky ’11 focuses on team cohesiveness and uncomplicated strategy.
By Brett Ford
Alyssa Polosky ’11 has always done her best to keep things simple.Her approach has led to success as an All-American women’s basketball student-athlete for the Knights and as part of the Geneseo coaching staff for nine seasons. Now, in her second year as women’s basketball head coach, Polosky preaches simplicity, no matter how complicated life may seem.
“My friends and family questioned my decision to become part of this coaching staff, and again when I was offered the head coaching position,” says Polosky.
Those close to her were concerned that she was spreading herself too thin and that she was taking too big a risk leaving her career as a secondary school teacher to become a basketball coach.
“My answer was simple,” she says. “I love Geneseo. I love what the women’s basketball program stands for and I want to continue to lead this program with those values in mind.”
On the court, “Coach Po” keeps it simple as well — in strategy and creating cohesive teams. Geneseo has won 20 or more gamesin each of the last seven seasons, including the 2018-2019 campaign, which was Polosky’s first as head coach.
“Most of our sustained success over the past decade can be attributed to the simplicity of our system,” says Polosky. The Knights preach defense and rebounding and repeatedly run the same offensive continuity until the defense misses an assignment and breaks down, allowing an open scoring opportunity. “It’s the same every year, which allows our student-athletes to grow and improve within the system — because of its simplicity.”
Polosky has a simple approach in her recruiting as well. “We look for well-rounded, team-oriented, good people first,” she says. “You eliminate a lot of variables when you narrow your search to good people and good basketball players.”
On the eve of the Knights’ NCAA Tournament second round game against two-time defending women’s basketball champion Amherst, Polosky was up until 4 a.m. forming a game plan. She spoke to Assistant Coach Shawn Monahan before the game, asking, “Is there enough here? Did I go into enough detail? I feel like I could have done so much more.”
Monahan echoed the message Polosky had relayed so frequently: “Keep it simple. Let them go out there and play.”
Knights guard Sara Ciotti ’20 was proud of her team’s performance against a perennial national championship contender like Amherst. “It may not have been the result we wanted, but we played an amazing game,” she says. “We were less concerned by the things that Amherst was going to do and more focused on what we had to do in order to succeed. I think that simple approach helped us prove that despite being an underdog, we could be competitive at a very high level.”