- Education: Bachelor's: Colby College, 2010 (Administrative Science) Master's: Smith College, 2012 (Exercise and Sport Studies)
In her fifth season as head coach of the University of Southern Maine Women’s Basketball program, Samantha (Allen) Norris has a long history with not only the tradition of great basketball in the State of Maine, but also with the long standing tradition of excellent women’s basketball at the University of Southern Maine.
A successful Maine HS and collegiate student-athlete, Norris was a Miss Maine Basketball Finalist in 2006, helping Lake Region to its first appearance in the State Championship game in 30 years in 2006. Norris was inducted into the Lake Region High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.
Familiar with the academic and athletic excellence found among USM's nearly 500 student-athletes, 22 intercollegiate programs and nearly 50 degrees of study on the Portland, Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn campuses. Norris' father, Phil, and step-mother Jill both attended the University of Southern Maine, while her mother, Lisa Chase, also an USM alumnae, was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame for her outstanding career as a member of the softball team.
As head coach, Norris has made her mark on campus, with the student-athlete community, and within her program. In her first three seasons with the Huskies, Norris has had nine of her student-athletes recognized with post-season honors, including Kristen Curley - the 2018 New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA), D3hoops.com New England Region, Maine State Women's Basketball (MWBCA) and Little East Conference Rookie of the Year.
Academically, the Huskies’ women’s basketball team has been the standard bearer over the last three of four season’s earning the Athletic Department’s Remo Riciputi Award (2015, 2016 and 2017), which is presented annually to the team with the highest grade point average.
In addition to her duties as head coach, Norris also serves as a lecturer for the NCAA Champs/Life Skills course and as the USM Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) advisor. For her excellence in these roles, Norris was tabbed as one of the 2016-2017 President’s Award for Community Engagement: given to members of the faculty who demonstrate an abiding commitment to incorporating community-based learning practices in their courses. Norris increased the community-engagement and civic leadership in both disciplines, strengthening partnerships with Maine Special Olympics, USM Student Veterans Organizations, and University Counseling Services. Under Allen's guidance USM's SAAC was honored by the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) with its Josten's Community Service Award.
Norris has earned personal accolades as well. At the conclusion of the 2017-2018 season, Norris was named the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association (WBCA) Thirty Under 30: given to 30 up-and-coming women's basketball coaches age 30 and under in the sport across all levels (NCAA Division I, II, III and NAIA) of the game. Each of the 30 recipients has exemplified their involvement in community service, mentorship, and impact on others, and professionalism. Norris' committment to service learning and community engagement also earned her recognition from the Maine Campus Compact with the Donald Harward Award for Faculty Service-Learning Excellence. One of three faculty members teaching in Maine to be presented with the award, it is given annually to faculty members who have made public service an integral part of his or her curriculum, use innovative teaching tools to engage students in civic learning, and have a demonstrated commitment to advocating for service-learning on campus and beyond.
Awards and Recognition
Honors & Awards:
2018: Donald Harward Award for Faculty Service-Learning Excellence
2018: WBCA (Women's Basketball Coaches' Association) Thirty Under 30
2017: USM President's Award for Community Engagement