At Meredith College, athletics are some of the most well-awarded groups on campus. A member of the USA South Athletic Conference, several teams have seen consistent wins.
Overall, the Avenging Angels have won 30 USA South championships, 340 USA South All-Conference championships and made 17 NCAA tournament appearances.
Banners line the Weatherspoon Gym in acknowledgement of each team’s contributions to these accomplishments. But there’s one banner in particular that hasn’t been updated in 19 years.
Meredith College Basketball (MCBB) has seen its own successes and triumphs. Kimberly Schuh, ‘21, scored 1,000 points during the 2019-20 season.
During the 2019-20 season, the team was 5-4 overall and 5-3 in the conference.
Success isn’t new to MCBB—but the team wants more. The team hasn’t made an NCAA appearance since 2003.
Megan Rahn, the Head Basketball Coach, understands that determination better than most. An alumna from the Class of 2012, she played for the program after transferring from UNCW.
Rahn has high expectations for the program this year and an even greater desire to build a strong foundation for it.
Rahn has been coaching since 2012 when she graduated Meredith. Starting at the high school level at Athens Drive, she coached their team for four seasons.
In 2016, she began as an assistant coach at Meredith as a volunteer. She was then promoted to paid assistant coach from 2018-2020, interim head coach for the 2021-22 season and is now the official head coach.
She worked alongside Dr. Melinda Campbell, the former MCBB coach from 2009-2018 and Rahn’s coach for three seasons. According to Rahn, Dr. Campbell pushed for her success on and off the court.
From helping prepare for interviews to writing referral letters after graduation, Rahn explained, “She was so integral in getting me to the place I am now.”
Dr. Campbell isn’t the only former MCBB coach that Rahn credited. LaQuanda Quick, MCBB’s Head Coach from 2018-2021, was an “incredible mentor” to her. During her year as Interim Head Coach, Rahn wanted to carry the momentum Quick generated during the 2020-21 season.
Rahn credited Quick for many of the strategies the team currently uses, including their defensive strategies.
Without revealing too much, Rahn explained that it’s a difficult style to teach and learn. Quick had laid the foundation for it during her three seasons at Meredith, and it worked.
“What we were doing was working, we just needed to see more time with it,” she said.
Even so, Rahn’s interim year required a lot of adapting. Her interim year felt like she was “drinking out of a fire hose.”
She’s spent time reflecting on last year, including taking player feedback for improvement.
“It’s hard to do everything you want to do in your first year and prove yourself,” she explained. “As a player, I was very coachable. I don’t think that stops when you become a coach.”
This year, the coaching staff finally has their feet under them. Rahn explained that they’ve been planning for the big-picture success of the team. Much of that preparation starts in the off season.
Like most athletic teams, MCBB’s official start to the season is different from when they begin to prepare. NCAA regulations restrict how Division III teams can practice for preseason.
According to the 2022-23 Division III Manual, Division III basketball teams cannot participate in “on-court preseason basketball practice sessions before Oct. 15.” Conditioning and fitness activities can be conducted, but are still subjected to the same start date.
For MCBB, this means that most of the preseason preparation is up to the players. MCBB has seven new freshmen recruits, making up almost half of the team.
The coaching staff emphasized to them and all returning players that a commitment to discipline is necessary for success.
“It really does separate the good from the great DIII teams,” she stated.
Rahn’s goal for the team is simple—keep improving. Winning, as she pointed out, is obviously important. She wants her team to experience being at the top of the conference. However, long-term success takes time.
“Wherever we go from here, we’re always going to come back to what we built in this first year,” she stated.
MCBB’s season-opener against N.C. Wesleyan is a home game on Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.
By Aminah Jenkins, Editor in Chief