By Carolo Pascale
A PICTURE of a peace sign, a signature smile and a pair of black, orange and blue socks that read “If you can read this, this coach is off duty” capped off 20 total years of devotion to the cranberry and white by Rider women’s basketball Associate Head Coach Pam Durkin.
The 1997 Rider University athlete of the year put down her whiteboard and stepped off the sidelines after she announced she is stepping away from coaching via Twitter on March 24.
“I can’t believe that it’s been 26 years. I feel like it’s only been yesterday,” said Durkin. “I was a coach for 26 years, I was a player for five, I played in high school for four, that’s a long time in my life to have basketball be the center of it.”
During her playing days as a Bronc, Durkin had an affinity for rebounding that culminated in 1997 when she pulled down 11.7 boards per game, good enough for the seventh in the nation. She currently stands ninth all-time in the Broncs’ program for rebounds with 662.
Alongside her prowess at the glass, Durkin garnered an All-Northeast Conference (NEC) selection as well as NEC All-Academic Team honors. She was also named the 1996-97 South Jersey Collegiate player of the year by the Al Carino Basketball Club.
After graduating from Rider in 1997, she coached at TCNJ, Niagara and Drexel before returning to Lawrenceville, New Jersey, a decade later as Head Coach Lynn Milligan’s top assistant.
“Pam has been with me all 16 years, so it’s very bittersweet for her to step away,” said Milligan. “She gave us, and particularly me, everything she had for these past 16 years and really built this program with me every step of the way.”
Durkin was named associate head coach in 2009 and has been a part of some of the most successful seasons in program history, capped off by the program’s first two Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) appearances in 2017 and 2019, and its first-ever Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season championship in 2020.
As for what Durkin has lined up in her time away from coaching, she plans to take a trip to Italy and then isn’t exactly sure what her plan is yet, but no matter what, she’ll always be a Bronc.
“If I wanted to be a head coach, I could have done that by now. If I wanted to try to go to a bigger program, I would have done that by now,” said Durkin. “It’s not about that at all. Rider is my home.”