Eight years into a successful career as a business manager at UBS Wealth Management in New York City, Monica Grinage Harrison ’07 found herself at a crossroads: accept a senior management position on Wall Street? Or follow her passion and rededicate her life to softball?
In a career-defining 2015 move, Harrison abandoned Wall Street for Philadelphia, where she became Arcadia University’s first full-time assistant softball coach. Within two years, the Pittsburgh native moved on to Carnegie Mellon University, where she was named head coach of the university’s 19th and newest varsity sports program, which debuted in March.
Even though she was captain of the Bison team, Harrison says, “After graduating from Bucknell, I never thought I would get back into the softball world. It’s been a dream come true to come back to Pittsburgh and coach at Carnegie Mellon.”
Harrison volunteered six years as an assistant coach at New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology before her time at Arcadia. Along with her coaching experience, she credits several of her Bucknell connections who helped hone her leadership skills and manage the challenges that come to a first-year coach recruiting players for a new program.
“It’s so cliché, but we always talk about the Bucknell network and the resources you have after graduation, but it couldn’t be more true for me as I came into this role,” Harrison says. “I was really able to learn from [former Bucknell basketball] Coach Pat Flannery ’80, who’s been a great mentor. We’ve had several conversations about being a coach and the type of relationships you should have with your players.”