INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Conover named interim head coach for women’s basketball
After five successful seasons at the helm of the women’s basketball program, head coach Laurie Kelly has been named the head coach at Northern Arizona University. Associate head coach Rich Conover, who filled in for Kelly while she was on maternity leave this past season, will continue as the interim head coach.
At Binghamton, Kelly has run up a record of 97-30 (.764). She guided the Bearcats to a 75-13 mark in its three years on the NCAA Division II level (1998-01). During that time, Binghamton advanced to the 1999 NCAA Tournament and captured the 2000 and 2001 ECAC titles. At the Division I level, Kelly led the Bearcats’ to a 19-9 record in their first Division I season, including a 10-6 mark in the America East Conference. Kelly was named the New England Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year in 1999 and the New York State Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association Co-Coach of the Year in 2002.
“The former and current players, the coaching staff and community people have been so supportive,” Kelly said. “It’s a sad but happy day for me. Even though I am moving closer to family (Kelly’s parents live in Tucson), I am leaving people who have been like family.”
“Laurie has done an outstanding job with our program during our transition to the Division I level,” Athletic Director Joel Thirer said. “We wish her well as she joins her family and friends out in Arizona.”
Conover, who has been on the staff since 1999 and who filled in for Kelly while she was on maternity leave this past season, was the acting head coach for 16 games this past season, guiding the Bearcats to a 7-9 record during that stretch. Prior to coming to Binghamton, he was the head coach at SUNY Oneonta during the 1998-99 season, where he guided the Red Dragons to a post season berth. He was also the head coach at Castleton State (Vt.) for two years, compiling a 42-13 record (.763) with back-to-back NAIA tournament appearances. His first head coaching assignment came at St. Joseph’s College (Vt.), where he held the head job from 1994-96.
DeMotte resigns to take post at Arkansas; Coach Back to take over swim program
Binghamton University head swimming coach Benji DeMotte has resigned to accept a position as assistant women’s swim coach at University of Arkansas. Patrice Back, who was DeMotte’s assistant coach for five years, has been elevated to head coach for the men’s and women’s programs.
DeMotte, who served as head coach at BU for five years, was named 2003 America East Coach of the Year after leading his men’s team to the conference championship this past winter. He also advanced two women to the NCAA Championship, BU was the only school in New York to do so.
“Benji has done a terrific job of transition-ing our program to Division II and now Division I,” Athletic Director Joel Thirer said. “It’s a great credit to him and to our program that he was highly recruited by a top program in the Southeastern Conference. We wish him great success.”
DeMotte was known for recruiting talented international student-athletes. This season alone, the Bearcats had swimmers from six foreign countries (England, China, Sweden, Egypt, Poland and Turkey).
Back, a former captain and school record holder at the University of Delaware, spent five years as DeMotte’s assistant, where she was instrumental with year-round training and on-deck coaching.
“We have absolute confidence in Patrice’s ability to take over,” Thirer said. “She has had a high-profile position here for five years and is a poised coach who carries herself with dignity. The program is in very good hands.”
“I am very excited to be stepping up into this position,” Back said. “Having worked with this program for five years, I am confident that we will continue to be successful.”
Back holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Delaware. Before coming to Binghamton, she was an assistant coach at Delaware for two years.
Campbell named women’s tennis coach at Texas-El Paso
After five seasons at Binghamton, head women’s tennis coach Jamie Campbell has accepted the position of head coach at University of Texas-El Paso. A national search for her successor will begin immediately.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my past five years here at Binghamton University,” Campbell said. “The administration, other coaches and staff have been extremely supportive and have helped me grow as a coach. Binghamton’s future looks incredibly bright.”
In Campbell’s five years at the helm, the Bearcats attained a record of 55-53 in dual matches, including a 28-19 mark over the past two seasons. In 2002-03, Binghamton enjoyed a banner year, finishing with a 16-8 dual match record and earning runner-up honors at the America East Conference Championship. Campbell was honored as the America East Conference Coach of the Year. Binghamton set single-season school records for the most wins in a season as well as the most consecutive wins (13).