Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stony Brook extends the contract of head men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell

Stony Brook, N.Y. - Stony Brook University has extended the contract of head men’s basketball coach Steve Pikiell, the architect of a Seawolves basketball renaissance, Director of Athletics Jim Fiore announced Thursday. Pikiell’s contract now runs through the end of the 2017-18 season.

“Coach Pikiell represents the University exactly the way that we want to be represented,” Fiore said. “For eight years, he has guided our men’s basketball program on an unprecedented upward trajectory of success both on the court and in the classroom. Equally as important, he has represented Stony Brook with unparalleled class and integrity. For the continued success of our program, it is important to have Steve Pikiell as our men’s basketball coach. I am excited that Steve has agreed to continue leading the Stony Brook men's basketball program, and I look forward to watching him guide our program to even greater heights for many years to come, especially as we head toward the opening of the new Stony Brook Arena in fall 2014. This contract extension is a sincere expression of our appreciation and belief in his abilities.”

“I want to thank Jim Fiore, President Stanley and the entire Stony Brook administration for their committed support and confidence in the program we are building here at Stony Brook University,” Pikiell said. “I also want to thank my entire staff for the effort and work they put in each and every day to make us better. I’m honored to work at Stony Brook University, honored to recruit bright student-athletes who contribute more than just wins and losses and honored to be a member of this community that has truly rallied around this university. We will continue to do everything we can to sustain a men’s basketball program that Stony Brook University, the alumni and the community are proud to support.”

Pikiell recently completed his eighth season at the helm of the Seawolves, guiding the program to its best season ever as a Div. I program. Despite having to replace four graduating seniors that all went on to play professionally overseas, the team won a record 25 games, captured the America East regular season championship for the third time in the last four years and secured its first-ever national postseason tournament victory, a 71-58 win over Massachusetts in the first round of the NIT. Stony Brook is one of only 11 teams in the country to win its conference regular season championship in at least three of the last four seasons. The program’s NCAA RPI of 77 is the highest in team history.

The 25 wins were the most of any team in the Metropolitan New York area, making Pikiell the easy choice for the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year Award. He also was named America East Coach of the Year for the third time in his career after his Seawolves posted a 14-2 record for the second straight season, winning the league outright by three games.

The 2012-13 season will be remembered not only for records broken, but also for an intense Seawolves defense that stifled opponents all season long. Stony Brook finished sixth in the nation in field goal percentage defense, holding teams to just 37.8 percent shooting. The scoring defense also ranked 13th in the nation at just 57.5 points per game. Twenty times Stony Brook held its opponent under 60 points, including a season-low 37 against Binghamton on Jan. 9.

Pikiell’s players were heavily honored this season for the epic campaign. Tommy Brenton was named America East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, just the second person ever to win both awards in the same season. Brenton also became the first Stony Brook Basketball player to ever win a national player of the year award when he was named the recipient of the Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year Award. Jameel Warney was named the America East Rookie of the Year, and he, Brenton and Dave Coley were on the America East All-Defensive team, just the second team ever to have three All-Defensive players in the same season.

Pikiell took over a Stony Brook program in 2005 that had struggled to achieve success at the Div. I level. After three seasons of rebuilding, Pikiell built the Seawolves into one of the dominant forces in America East, beginning with the program’s first conference regular season championship in 2010. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, Stony Brook has gone 49-15 (.766) during conference play, best among the nine America East institutions in that span. The team has reached the America East Championship semifinals in all four of those seasons, making title game appearances in 2011 and 2012. In four of his eight seasons at Stony Brook, he has been named Coach of the Year by at least one organization.

Pikiell’s mentorship has also extended into the classroom. Stony Brook’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) has been a perfect 1000 in each of the last three seasons, and the program’s four-year rolling APR is 985, which is the 39th highest in all of Div. I and a vast improvement from the team’s rolling APR of 880 in 2005. The 985 multi-year APR is the best among Metropolitan New York City school and better than well-regarded academic institutions such as Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Vanderbilt and Northwestern. This year alone, half of Pikiell’s roster made the America East Honor Roll for sporting a 3.0 GPA or higher during the 2012-13 academic year.  

Pikiell has also made an impact across the community. He annually hosts many community service projects for his student-athletes, including the Special Olympics clinic that the program puts on every winter. In the summer of 2012, he and his wife Kate donated $50,000 back to the university with $25,000 going to men’s basketball and $25,000 going to Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.