A familiar face has returned to the sidelines of Burt Kahn Court. Former women’s basketball coach Tony Barone has returned to the team as an assistant coach for the 2004-2005 season. Barone coached the team in 1979, leading them to a 16-5 record, and has since been with Southern Connecticut State University. He coached the Owls from 1979-1998, compiling a record of 255-267. He spent the past six years as a professor of Exercise Science at SCSU.
Barone is thrilled to be back coaching again saying, “This is a great opportunity with a great institution to get involved in basketball again, after being out of the game for the past seven years.” When asked what he missed the most about coaching, Barone replied, “I missed the teaching part of the game more than anything. I’ve always enjoyed teaching the game of basketball to young people.”
The women’s basketball team is looking to improve on a productive 2003-2004 season in which the Bobcats made the NEC tournament. It might be tougher with the loss of center Ashlee Kelly, who was a powerful force in the paint, as well as key players Sara Esidore and Katie Keilty. Barone has some ideas to improve the squad; including tweaking the fast-break play and the woman-to-woman offense, and other strategies to better fit the new personnel. Barone also hopes the incoming freshmen can have an impact on the team, noting “All four of the freshmen are talented athletes, but it might be tough for them to make adjustments to a new team, new school, and new style of game.”
New additions include forwards Amber Anderson, Monique Lee, and Hanna Pervan, as well as guard Sofia Kryitsis. The core of the team will feature, among others, returning players Kim Fitzpatrick, Jackie Harris, Krystal Pressley, and Helen Ridley.
Even though returning to the bench may be a bit more stressful than his brief retirement, Barone is up for the challenge, saying, “This is a terrific school, a great place to be, and I am thrilled for the opportunity to be here.” Hopefully his experience and expertise of more than two decades coaching collegiate basketball can help bring the Bobcats to the top of the NEC, and maybe even a birth in the NCAA tournament.