Janel Blankespoor enters her fourth season with the Wilmington College women's basketball program in 2021-22. She spent two years as the program's top assistant and one year as interim head coach before emerging from a national search as the permanent head coach in June of 2021.
During the unique 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she guided the Fightin' Quakers to an even 7-7 record, the program's first winning season in four years. Wilmington, which snapped a decade-long losing streak at Ohio Northern University in the season-opener, won an Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament home game before falling to eventual champion John Carroll University. McKayla Binkley garnered First Team All-OAC honors and scored her 1,000th point during the year.
In her first two years, alongside former Head Coach Jerry Scheve, Blankespoor has guided the Quakers to consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament berths. Additionally, guard McKayla Binkley garnered First Team All-OAC honors as the league's leading scorer in 2019-20. That year, Wilmington finished in the top 20 in the country in scoring.
Blankespoor comes to Wilmington from Georgetown High School where she served as head girls' basketball coach as well as career and college advisor from the 2017-18 academic year. In addition to coaching high school basketball, Blankespoor aided the student body in all phases of the college admissions process including, but not limited to: applying for scholarships, filling out FAFSA, submitting college applications, etc.
Prior to Georgetown, Blankespoor spent five seasons with the women's basketball program at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, including the last three years as acting head coach. In two years as an assistant coach, she played a critical role in turning a program that won just four games to a 12-13 campaign during the 2013-14 season. As acting head coach, Blankespoor kept the program running smoothly through an extended medical leave of the permanent head coach. She recruited the two largest classes in program history including nearly every student-athlete that led Earlham to its first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Tournament berth in program history in 2017-18.
Blankespoor is no stranger to the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) as she worked in the office of admission at the University of Mount Union for five years as well as serving as an assistant coach with the Purple Raiders' women's basketball program for three seasons prior to her arrival at Earlham. Mount Union enjoyed its most successful three-year stretch during that time, accumulating an overall record of 80-11 including a 46-8 mark in OAC play. The Purple Raiders won two OAC regular season championships as well as claiming the OAC Tournament crown all three years Blankespoor was on staff. She aided Head Coach Suzy Venet in advancing Mount Union to the second weekend ("Sweet 16") of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament in both 2010 and 2012.
A 2007 graduate of Otterbein College (now University), Blankespoor (then Iden) was a four-year letter winner with the Cardinals women's basketball program and was part of the best team in program history in 2003-04. That season, Otterbein finished 23-5 and coincidentally was the last team to defeat Wilmington before the Fightin' Quakers won the 2004 national championship.
Blankespoor graduated from Otterbein with a degree in organization communication. She later went to earn a master's degree in higher education administration and student personnel from Kent State University in 2012.
Blankespoor's husband, Mitch, is the director of athletic communications at Wilmington. The couple resides in Wilmington with their daugher, Jesalyn.
*Last updated - June 29, 2021