Alumni meet basketball coaches at breakfast
By Steve Seepersaud
Gratitude for support from alumni and a desire to make the community proud were the overwhelming sentiments that Binghamton's basketball coaches expressed Nov. 7, at a breakfast with about 50 alumni and friends at the Events Center.
Sponsored by the Department of Athletics and the Alumni Association, the breakfast featured the men's and women's coaches offering their perspectives on the new season as one squad is trying to rebuild, while the other has enjoyed recent successes.Tommy Dempsey, who came to Binghamton in May following a successful run at Rider University in New Jersey, acknowledges that initial progress for the men's basketball program will be measured in more ways than wins and losses. However, he has a strong desire to build a program that will be known nationally as "the team you don't want to see in your NCAA tournament bracket."
"We're creating an environment where the expectations are high," Dempsey said. "We want pressure. Internally, there is a lot of pressure. If you are going to be a good program then you have to be able to respond to pressure. If there is no pressure, then you are not at the right place."
Nicole Scholl, women's head coach, has led her team to the America East tournament semifinals in three of the last four years. A member of the staff since 1998, Scholl says she's fortunate to have spent so much time in one place, which is atypical because coaches tend to move around every few years.
"I've seen the growth and had the opportunity to meet wonderful people," Scholl said. "And you don't see this growth at a lot of campuses. It's a tribute to the support from alumni, faculty, staff and the community."
Patrick Elliott, in his second year as athletic director, says he's pleased by the extent to which the community has embraced the Bearcats athletics programs. He thanked the alumni for their support, which has been key to expansions, such as the new baseball, soccer, softball and tennis complexes.
"None of this would be possible if it were not for the many alumni who have come before," Elliott said. "All of you are a part of who we are today. In my short time here, I'm realizing how special this community is. The fact that our alumni have and continue to stick with us and support our student athletes makes Binghamton University a special place."
Jose Moreira '00, MBA '03, a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, was master of ceremonies and reflected on his four years as a varsity wrestler. He said the experience gave him lasting friendships, and he met his wife, Felicia – a four-year softball player – while he was a student.
"Being a student-athlete helped me with time management, leadership and how to deal with adversity," Moreira said. "It taught me that dedication and hard work will always pay off. My experience as a student-athlete was phenomenal."