Utica welcomes Coffey as head men's basketball coach

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Sean Coffey has New York and Division III basketball all over his resume as he takes over a program that went 7-18 last season.
St. John Fisher athletics photo

Utica athletic director David Fontaine formally announced the hiring of Sean Coffey as the head coach of the men's basketball program on Thursday.

Coffey, who is the seventh coach in program history (NCAA era), is no stranger to the Empire 8 Conference as he most recently spent five seasons on the sidelines as a full-time assistant coach at St. John Fisher (2011-2016).

Coffey replaces Chris Connolly, who spent eight years as the Pioneers' head coach, compiling an 83-118 record, including a 7-18 mark this past season. Connolly is 98-203 in 12 years as a Division III head coach.

"I'd like to thank Dave Fontaine and the search committee as well as president (Todd) Hutton, incoming president (Laura) Casamento and provost John Johnsen for the tremendous opportunity to lead the men's basketball program here at Utica College," said Coffey. "I believe we have the resources, both academically and athletically, to be successful and I'm excited for what the future holds."

In the last five seasons at Fisher, alongside head coach Rob Kornaker, he helped guide the Cardinals to 89 victories, including 52 wins in Empire 8 Conference play.  His time at Fisher included three Empire 8 tournament appearances and in 2014-15 the Cardinals won the conference tournament championship, earned an automatic bid into the Division III NCAA Tournament and advanced as far as the Sweet 16. In the past two seasons, the Cardinals have posted consecutive 21-plus win campaigns to go along with a combined 28-4 record in Empire 8 play and two Empire 8 Coaching Staff of the Year honors.

"Sean has a tremendous work ethic which is evident through his past recruiting efforts at Fisher," said Fontaine. "In the few days Sean has been on campus he has hit the ground running and has already had several student-athletes and their families on campus to show them everything that we have to offer at UC. We're excited for the start of our season and look forward to Sean being part of our UC family."

While at Fisher he spearheaded the recruiting efforts, implemented practice plans, game plans and scouting reports for opponents and he was also as in charge of the team's strength and conditioning program. He recruited and developed an All-American, Empire 8 Conference Player of the Year and multiple all-conference and All-East Region selections.

"I envision playing a really high tempo, exciting style of basketball, one that young student-athletes are going to want to play in and be recruited to," said Coffey.  "We have an excellent opportunity to recruit talented young men who will receive a great education here at Utica."

Prior to Fisher, Coffey spent one season as an assistant men's and women's basketball coach and fitness center coordinator at Corning Community College. Prior to CCC he had two separate stints at Hudson Valley Community College as the assistant director of athletics and sports information director (2009-2010) as well as the men's basketball assistant coach (2006-2008). He helped guide HVCC to a 51-11 record, including a 30-1 record in 2007-08.

Originally from New Paltz, N.Y., he graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in communication studies and he was also a member of the men's basketball team. Coffey then went on to earn his master's degree in college student service administration from St. Rose in 2008.

While at Oneonta as a student-athlete, Coffey broke several records under the guidance of Red Dragon coach Vince Medici. He had 173 3-pointers in three seasons, which was good enough for second on the College's all-time list. He holds the single game record for 3-pointers made with nine and has games where he hit eight, seven, and six 3-pointers, which are all in the top 10 for the Red Dragons.

After college, Coffey played professional basketball in the Irish Superleague (the top league in Ireland) in 2008 and 2009. He played for the Limerick Lions and led the league in 3-pointers and in scoring. His performance earned him Irish Superleague All-Import First Team status and First Team Eurobasket.com accolades. Coffey was also head of basketball operations for the Claregalway Basketball Club in Claregalway, Ireland.

Coffey attended New Paltz High School and is also a National Strength and Conditioning Association certified strength and conditioning specialist.

Sean and his wife Gabrielle Coffey most recently resided in Fairport, N.Y., with their daughter, Brielle.