James McClendon, Assistant News Editor
The Utica College men’s basketball team has named Sean Coffey as its new head coach for the 2016-17 season.
Coffey said he wants to change the culture for UC basketball. He believes in a culture that puts the players first.
“I think with a new coach there are going to be changes and a new person at the helm with a different voice,” Coffey said. “The players come first but they all have to buy in to the goal of being successful and good people.“
Sophomore Ivan Iton said he was excited for what the team can accomplish next season and cannot wait to start working with Coffey.
“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to have a fresh start,” Iton said. “I think we have a lot of talent and potential to really do something special this upcoming season and I believe he can help us achieve that. “
The Pioneers finished the 2015-16 season with a 4-12 record in the conference and a 7-17 record overall under former head coach Chris Connolly. Connolly finished his eight seasons at Utica College with an 83-117 overall record.
Athletic Director Dave Fontaine announced that Connolly would not be returning for the 2016-17 season on March 17.
Coffey has worked as an assistant coach at St John Fisher College since October of 2011.
Before that, Coffey worked as an assistant Director of Athletics and Sports Information Director for Hudson Valley Community College. From 2006 through 2008, Coffey also worked as an assistant men’s basketball coach for the Vikings.
Coffey had a stint with the Limerick Lions in the Irish Superleague from 2008-2009. Coffey led his team in scoring and the league in three point field goals made. He was named to the Irish Superleague All-Import First Team.
Coffey graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2006 with a communication studies degree. He was a two-year captain of the varsity basketball team and led his team in scoring in his senior year.
Coffey said that he is an offensive-minded coach, but thinks the key to being successful in a college program is having players that are going to work hard on defense.
“Commitment to the defensive end will allow advantages offensively and give us the ability to attack early,” Coffey said.
Coffey spent his first day on campus, meeting with players and other coaches on Tuesday.
Senior Rob Tutein will not get the chance to play for Coffey but feels his teammates are being left in good hands.
“I think he’ll fit great with the guys that are returning,” Tutein said. “He’s bringing new styles and ideas to the table and I’m really excited to see what he can do with the group of guys that he has.”
Coffey plans to lead the Pioneers to their first Empire 8 tournament appearance since the 2012-13 season.
Featured image; Sean Coffey was named the new men’s basketball Head coach. Photo from ucpioneers.com