Junior guard Mackenzie Kramer practices for the Lehigh women’s basketball team's season. Kramer and the team are adjusting to new leadership roles as a way for responsibilities and work to be divided up among the players. (Photo courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Lehigh women’s basketball implements leadership council for 2023 season


Following Lehigh women’s basketball’s season-ending loss to Bucknell in the 2022 Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals, the team saw coaching staff promotions and a change in team culture.

Coach Sue Troyan was promoted to deputy director of athletics for the Lehigh Athletics Department, and associate coach Addie Micir was promoted to head coach.

So far this season, the Mountain Hawks are 2-2 and rank third in the Patriot League.

This season the team has adopted a new leadership system that differs from the typical team dynamic they have had in the past. 

One change in particular stands out: They have no team captain.

Senior Anna Harvey said the team has adopted a leadership system that incorporates five different types of leaders: senior leaders, executive leaders, performance leaders, spark leaders and locker room leaders.

“We have so many leaders on our team that this makes sense for us,” Harvey said. “Labeling two people with a big capital ‘C’ for captain puts a lot of pressure on them.”

Harvey said each type of leader exhibits different leadership qualities. For senior leaders, the qualities include being mission-oriented and having a team-centric mentality. 

“A key motto on our team is, ‘We before me,’” Harvey said. 

She said executive leaders ensure the team is structured and that everyone is on the same page going into a practice, scrimmage or game.

Performance leaders are result-oriented and motivated players, while spark leaders are the individuals who bring energy and enthusiasm to the team every day, she said.

Locker room leaders, she said, represent the culture of the team — mature, invested and having a team-first relational dynamic are their hallmarks.

Micir said the decision to veer away from the traditional two captain leadership model was made by the coaching staff; Julie Ammary, the director of athletics leadership development; and Caitlin Gillard, the assistant director for athletics leadership development.

“This is a really unique team,” Micir said. “They are a team with a lot of different strengths amongst the group and there are a lot of natural leaders.” 

Instead of having one or two people try and flex in all of those areas, Micir thought the individuals who are really strong in all of these particular areas should be given opportunities to exhibit her strengths.

“As the team voted for the positions, it became really obvious who shined in these particular aspects,” Micir said. “These individuals also don’t need to stress in these roles because it’s what they’re naturally good at.” 

The decision to proceed in a different leadership direction this year did not come from a result of past issues, Micir said, but rather, a series of discussions with the current seniors regarding what they wanted the team to look like. 

Micir said the seniors have spoken about having a culture on the team with buy-invfrom all grade levels. This new system allows for leadership participation for all members of the team, she said.

“Sometimes good senior leadership is backing all of your teammates while they do their thing,” Micir said. 

At first, the team felt that this new system was different, but Micir said once they learned more about it and had time to process it, they recognized that this helped emphasize the strengths of their program. 

Junior Jamie Behar said even though this system is different from the past, everyone is working together and is invested in making sure the system creates the best possible environment for the team. 

Behar said she and her team are open to learning new ways to help the team grow as a whole unit. 

“This new system is definitely the best way to continue to build team chemistry,” Behar said. “People feel more comfortable because there is not just one designated leader to go to if they are experiencing any problems.” 

Behar said she hopes that as the season progresses, the team will continue to grow and learn how to develop their atypical and shared leadership program. She said the team could use this adjustment to better their communication on the court. 

Micir said, as the season progresses, she thinks this system will help the team improve their skills, and she hopes this will allow the team to continue to celebrate each other.

“If we want to have a shot at winning a championship this year, we have to focus on the process, not necessarily the end result,” Micir said.

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1 Comment

  1. If the assessments are accurate the results should be good. I’m optimistic and look forward to a follow-up report after the season. Go Lehigh

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