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Agnus Berenato Named Speaker for MSMU Class of 2018 Commencement

Agnus Berenato feature

Mount St. Mary’s University will welcome nationally acclaimed women’s basketball coach Agnus “Aggie” Berenato, C’80, to its Emmitsburg campus on Sunday, May 13, as the Class of 2018’s commencement speaker.

Berenato has earned her professional reputation by turning struggling programs into thriving success stories. As a 31-year coaching veteran, she has won 461 games spanning four years at Rider University (1982-85), 15 years at Georgia Tech (1989-2003), 10 years at University of Pittsburgh (2003-13) and two years at her current position at Georgia’s Kennesaw State (2017-18).

Her teams have competed in the postseason 11 times. She’s mentored five players to All-American recognition and her players achieved 21 All-Conference honors at Pitt and 16 more at Georgia Tech. As a two-time recipient of the Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year (2005 and 2007), she’s also been elected into the Rider University (2002), Camden County (2005), Basketball Club of South Jersey and Mount St. Mary’s University Sports Halls of Fame.

“We are thrilled that Aggie, an accomplished alumna and leader on and off the basketball court, will be joining our graduates for commencement,” said Mount St. Mary’s President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. “Her career accomplishments and demonstrated commitment to living significantly in keeping with the Mount’s values set a terrific example for the Class of 2018 as they begin their lifelong career journeys.”

Berenato earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at the Mount and was a three-year starter on the basketball team. Playing for former NBA star Fred Carter, she was a two-time captain for the Mountaineers. After serving for eight years on the college’s Board of Trustees, she is now a Trustee Emeritus. In May of 2009, she was awarded with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Seton Hall University and delivered the commencement speech to its spring graduates. She also holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Mount.

As a highly respected coach, she incorporates lessons learned from her own heroes and mentors into her bold, yet compassionate, coaching style which has always emphasized the development of the whole person. By encouraging her student-athletes to complement their athletic performance with academic achievement, she is honored to say every one of her student-athletes who has completed their eligibility has graduated.

It’s a little-known secret that Berenato often invites guest coaches to share advice and impart wisdom to players—both on and off the court. Over the years, guest coaches included a Navy Seal, a CEO of an architectural firm, a female sniper and a lawyer. Known in the industry as a player’s coach, Berenato’s philosophy to motivate players has been: Be better, not bitter.

After leaving Pitt, Berenato did a lot of public speaking and volunteering. In 2014 she was named an ACC Women’s Basketball Legend and was recognized on two occasions as a Division I Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. But it was when Berenato started doing television commentary work that she longed to coach again. In 2016 she got her chance. Today, she is the head women’s coach at Kennesaw State University. She joined the Owls with a 444-413 career record.

Berenato grew up in a basketball family in Gloucester City, New Jersey, where she attended Gloucester Catholic High School and played on three state championship teams. Her sister, Bernadette McGlade, was a former Georgia Tech head coach and now serves as the commissioner of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Berenato and her husband Jack have five children: Theresa Marie, Andrew, Joey, Clare and Christina. Christina also will participate in commencement as she receives her MBA.