Birman headshot

Elsebeth Birman

WINCHESTER — Shenandoah University women’s basketball coach Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft announced Thursday that she has promoted Elsebeth Birman to her lead assistant coach position.

Birman, a 2013 graduate of the University of the Sciences, recently completed her third season as the No. 2 assistant on Smeltzer-Kraft’s staff. She moves into a full-time role following Aby Diop’s departure last month to become the head coach at Averett University.

In three seasons as an assistant at SU, Birman has helped the Hornets to 34 wins and the 2019 ODAC championship.

“When I realized that Aby was going to get a head coaching position, I began to think about what that would mean for the staff,” Smeltzer-Kraft said in a news release. “Elsebeth has done a great job in the part-time role the past three years, and when she expressed to me that she would like to give coaching her full-time attention, that made my decision very easy.

“She knows the student-athletes, the league and how we run the program on a day-to-day basis. This past winter, she was able to arrange her work schedule in a manner that allowed her to be with us nearly full-time, so she is very familiar with the demands and expectations of the lead assistant.”

Birman played two seasons at Division II University of the Sciences after transferring from the University of Bridgeport (Conn.) and was a four-time academic All-league honoree. In addition to her SU coaching experience, she was a graduate assistant at her alma mater as well as a high school assistant coach.

Birman begins her full-time position on August 1.

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