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The Women's Basketball team played in their annual Think Pink breast cancer research fund raising match, handily defeating the Columbia Lions in the process. Credit: Pete Lodato , Pete Lodato

Two years ago, then-senior Erin Power told The Daily Pennsylvanian she had “definitely considered” returning to coach the Penn women’s basketball team if a spot opened up.

Alas, Power has since returned to her alma mater as a volunteer assistant on the staff of her former coach, Mike McLaughlin.

“It has certainly been interesting being on the other side of the coin,” Power said. “As a coach, not much has changed working alongside [McLaughlin].”

The 2011 Penn graduate played her junior and senior seasons for McLaughlin in his first and second years at the helm.

Power averaged 4.8 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds in her 27 starts during the 2010-11 campaign. She had the second-highest shooting percentage for Penn during that season and was also second in blocks with 19. Her 2.6 assists per game and 55 steals led the Red and Blue in both categories.

“Playing for coach McLaughlin was an incredible experience,” Power said. “He is so knowledgeable about the game and cares so much about his players.”

Power returned to Penn this year to attend the School of Social Policy and Practice and signed on with McLaughlin to volunteer as an assistant for her former team.

The decision to come back was an easy one for Power.

“After spending a year away from the sport completely, I had the burning desire to be surrounded by and involved in the sport,” she said.

Power is not the first former player McLaughlin has added to his staff, as he sees the benefit of hiring former players who can more easily connect with his current players.

“I’ve had the opportunity to coach [with] a couple of my players, and it has worked out great,” he said.

Power may not be finished coaching when her days at Penn are over. Even with a graduate degree, basketball is in her DNA.

“It is definitely something I’ve considered doing long-term,” she said two years ago. “My father is a high school basketball coach, and my mom was a phenomenal player at Marquette University. I’ve grown up in the coaching culture with my father.”

The way Power talks about her start in coaching is reminiscent of the way her coach remembers his decision to follow the career path.

Both Power and McLaughlin took time away from college basketball before entering coaching, and both began as assistants at their alma maters.

As Power gets her first taste of working the bench under McLaughlin, the similarities could continue into the future.

“If there was an opportunity to coach, it is definitely something I’d consider pursuing as a career,” Power said.


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