Bowdoin women’s basketball coach Adrienne Shibles speaks to her players during Jan. 6, 2020 practice in Brunswick. Portland Press Herald file photo Buy this Photo

BRUNSWICK — A month after its longtime men’s basketball coach Tim Gilbride announced his retirement, Bowdoin College now needs to replace its winningest women’s basketball coach in program history.

Adrienne Shibles accepted an offer to become the women’s basketball coach at Division I Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, Bowdoin announced Monday.

“Honestly, it wasn’t perfect timing and I wasn’t necessarily looking for a move,” said Shibles. “I realized during the process that it’s a terrific and perfect fit in every way, and I’m excited for the challenge in front of me.”

Shibles is the third Bowdoin coach to depart in the last six weeks. Along with Gilbride, former track and field head coach Peter Slovenski announced his retirement on March 23.

Shibles added that Dartmouth contacted her after its coach, Belle Koclanes, left in late February for a position away from basketball.

Shibles went 281-65 (.805 winning percentage) in 12 seasons with the Polar Bears. She led Bowdoin to 11 NCAA Division III tournament appearances, including national title game appearances 2017 and 2018. The Polar Bears were on the cusp of reaching another Final Four in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the season. Shibles, a Knox native and Mount View graduate, also won two New England Small College Athletic Conference championships.

Now, she’s making the jump to a Division I program that has struggled in recent years — The Big Green have not enjoyed a winning season since 2017-18. Their last Ivy League crown came in 2009.

“It became obvious to me that everyone at Dartmouth will ensure that I have an opportunity to be successful,” said Shibles, who added that her daughter will finish her senior year in Maine with her husband before they all relocate.”It’s going to take a lot of hard work and attention to detail, I want to get right in there and focus on alignment with our coaching staff and student athletes. … I will forever cherish the memories I have made here at Bowdoin, and I know that my footprint on this program will be left behind. It’s in great hands with these amazing student athletes, they know what it takes to be successful and have a high functioning culture. There’s so much talent in the program and I know that they are going to have a great season come winter.”

“It’s definitely going to be tough, I love Maine.”

Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald

Bowdoin athletic director Tim Ryan said in a statement Monday that Shibles will be missed. The school will quickly begin its search for its next women’s basketball coach.

“The college is incredibly grateful for Adrienne’s commitment to supporting the development and well-being of the women within our basketball program and we all will cherish the success our team achieved under her leadership,” said Ryan in a statement. “Adrienne’s career at Bowdoin was bookended by NESCAC Championships, but her true success will be measured by the countless lives she has positively impacted within and outside our campus community. We look forward to following Adrienne’s success at Dartmouth.”

Shibles was set to coach the USA women’s U16 national team. The team was scheduled to fly to Chile in June for the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championships. However, those plans are now off because Team USA prohibits Division I coaches from working with high school athletes.

“It’s unfortunate, but I truly enjoyed my time working with Carol Callan and working with USA basketball,” said Shibles. “My deepest hope is that I have another chance in the future.”

While Team USA may have to wait, Dartmouth won’t.

“I’m definitely anxious to start,” she said. “I’m not exactly sure when I’ll get out there but I’m hoping sometime soon.”

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