Melissa (Kraft) Smeltzer-Kraft became the 11th head coach in SU women's basketball history with her appointment to the position in June 2014.
Smeltzer-Kraft, who graduated in 2007 from Drew (N.J.) University with a degree in history, originally came to Shenandoah in July 2013 to be the Hornets lead assistant coach.
She arrived in Winchester after two seasons as an assistant coach at longtime Division III power University of Rochester.
Her two years at UR, in which the Yellowjackets won a combined 39 games and made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013, was her third coaching stop in four years.
The Staten Island, New York native earned her Master of Science Degree in Higher Education from Rochester in May 2013 and served the department as the Game Management Coordinator during that time as well.
From 2009-11, she was an assistant coach at Vassar College after serving one year as an assistant at SUNY Plattsburgh.
She began her coaching career at her alma mater in 2008.
At Vassar, she coached a total of four players that earned first team All-Liberty League honors and was part of a coaching staff that earned LL Coaching Staff of the Year accolades in 2011.
VC also advanced to the NCAA Tournament that season.
As a student-athlete, Smeltzer-Kraft played both basketball and softball for the Rangers, earning MAC All-Freedom honors on multiple occasions. In 2009, Drew honored her as a member of its Athletic Hall of Fame Team of Distinction for an ECAC basketball championship captured in 2004.
In July, 2017, it was announced that Smeltzer-Kraft had been selected to the Drew University Hall of Fame and she was formally inducted into their HoF on October 6, 2017.
As the Hornets head coach, Smeltzer-Kraft has led the program to the Salem Civic Center for the ODAC Tournament quarterfinals in both 2017 and 2018.
In 2019, Smeltzer-Kraft’s Hornets became the lowest seed (8) to ever win the ODAC Tournament. SU began the tournament with a 79-60 victory over No. 9 Bridgewater, ousted top-seeded Guilford 52-49 in overtime in the quarterfinals and then trounced No. 4 Randolph-Macon 58-41 in the semis.
That brought a championship Sunday appearance versus third-seeded Washington & Lee, and SU took out the Generals 63-53 to earn the program’s first-ever ODAC title.
SU played national power DeSales in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Smeltzer-Kraft, and her wife, Ashley Smeltzer-Kraft, were married in July 2014. Ashley Smeltzer-Kraft is the Hornets head field hockey coach. The couple are parents of a son, Welles Ralph Smeltzer-Kraft, born in March, 2017.