Courtesy of Yale Athletics

Dalila Eshe will take over as the head coach of the Yale women’s basketball team, the Athletic Department announced Monday.

Eshe will replace outgoing head coach Allison Guth, who left Yale to accept a position as the head coach at Loyola University Chicago. Eshe, who previously served as an assistant coach and recruiting director at Princeton, has no head coaching experience at the collegiate level, but has an impressive track record of success both as a player and a coach. She was a first-team All-SEC selection in her senior season at Florida in 2006 and played professionally for the Washington Mystics and Atlanta Dream in the WNBA for two years. Eshe, who was selected 25th in the 2006 WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm, also played overseas for nine years.

“It is an honor and a dream come true to accept this position as the next women’s basketball coach at Yale University,” Eshe wrote in the press release. “This program has been very successful over the last few years with the hard work of the student-athletes and the staff. I am so excited to lead this amazing group of young women. We will pride ourselves on putting in the work to win championships. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Members of the women’s basketball team expressed their excitement at Eshe’s hire, recognizing the achievements and talents of their new coach.

In particular, point guard Jenna Clark ’24 hoped Eshe could instill a championship mentality within the Blue and White, which most recently finished in third place in the Ancient Eight conference before falling in the semifinals of Ivy Madness. 

“Her playing career is super impressive,” Clark said. “To be able to play at the highest level is an amazing accomplishment, so we’re really lucky that we’re going to be able to learn from her… I think she’ll bring us a lot of great perspective and grow us all as players.”

In addition to her accomplishments as a player, Eshe’s resume also features a track record of success at every stop in her coaching career. After serving as the Director of Basketball Operations at Loyola University Maryland, Eshe got her first coaching opportunity as an assistant coach with Eastern Carolina University. During her stint from 2014-16, she helped the Pirates attract their best recruiting class in program history and secure their first WNIT victory.

As an assistant at LaSalle University, she helped lead the team to its best recruiting class in decades and best record in eight years in the 2016–17 season. Most recently, as a recruiting director and assistant coach with Princeton, Eshe helped secure recruiting classes that ranked in the top-40 nationally for three straight years. This recruiting prowess translated to the court, as the Tigers have not dropped a conference game in over two seasons and nearly advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of March Madness in 2022.

“We’re all super excited about this hire,” forward Grace Thybulle ’25 said. “A few of us are familiar with her because she recruited us during her time at Princeton, and we’re all major fans . . . She knows what it takes to be great and will definitely be able to push us to that next level.”

Beyond the quality of her previous accomplishments, Eshe also brings a skill set that seems particularly well-suited for this Bulldogs team. Her past teams have dominated on the defensive end, which is where this year’s Yale squad has established its dominance.

Eshe’s experience as a frontcourt player may also allow her to further unlock the potential of star player and forward Camilla Emsbo ’23. While Emsbo earned first-team All-Ivy honors this season, averaging 14.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, her teammates recognize that they can learn from Eshe how to play through the post more effectively.

“Obviously, my twin sister plays at Princeton and has spent the last few years playing under Coach Eshe,” Emsbo said. “I have only heard great things about her, and I know Princeton is going to miss her, which is a good sign for us… She also has experience playing in the post, which is really exciting for me and our other post players specifically.”

Eshe will be formally introduced as the 11th head coach of the women’s basketball team at a press conference in John J. Lee Amphitheatre on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

ANDREW CRAMER
Andrew Cramer is a sports editor at the YDN. He has previously been a beat reporter for the Yale women's basketball and men's baseball teams. He currently writes a weekly column for the WKND section. He is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College and remains undecided about his major.