Anthony Cittadino, Sports Editor
The leaves have changed, the air is brisk and hardwood around the nation has been freshly waxed, hoops season is back. Utica College basketball is back with a whole new look to it. Head coach, Sean Coffey, was hired in the off season to get the Pioneer program back on track. The Pioneers finished last season with a record of 7-17 and a conference record of 4-12 under previous head coach, Chris Connolly.
Coffey has his work cut out for him this season with a whole new group of players and coaching staff. Coffey is coming off a five year stand as an assistant coach at St. John Fisher. Coffey has hired David Wadas as his assistant coach this past summer. Wadas spent the last three seasons at Hartwick College.
Coffey also added assistant coach Ryan Dalton this summer. Dalton is a product of Coffey who played the past four years at St. John Fisher. The final coaching spot was reserved for a coach that has known Coffey for some time now, his father Richard.
Coffey has enjoyed his time here getting his first program ready for play, “So far I’m enjoying it, I was heavily involved in the day to day operations at Fisher so a lot of this is familiar,” Coffey said. “I don’t have a whole lot of people to answer to so it has its freedom to do what I think needs to be done.”
Coffey walked into preseason with a full conditioning plan to make sure his guys were ready for tryouts. “The guys did great, we worked out five days a week and I also had a chance to work with the women’s team so we worked on some agility drills with them and they also worked hard,” Coffey said. “We had the clash of returning guys and some of the new guys I recruited. We have a lot of young talent and junior college transfers that will add depth to the team. But there were a lot of guys competing for a spot.”
This year’s turn out for players that tried out was more than expected, “We officially had 31 guys and had to cut it down to 17,” Coffey said. “That was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a coach. Unfortunately, it’s necessary.”
As the season approaches, there is a lot of speculation that this year will be much different than recent years, “As far as wins and losses go, that will not be our main focus. We are really going to focus on the process of everyday, getting better. We just want to focus on what we can control which is our hard work and preparation each day,” Coffey said. “This is a process of our program, we are very young and we are trying to look more into the future as far as where will be in three years.”
The Pioneers begin their season on Nov. 11 as Morrisville State College hosts the event. UC will play their season opener against SUNY POLY on Nov. 22.