Men’s basketball head coach Bill Curley won the 2018-19 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Coach of the Year award after leading the Lions to its first conference title and NCAA tournament appearance.
Curley led the Lions to a 16-11 record as they qualified as the second seed in the NEWMAC playoffs. The team finished with a 9-5 conference record, including an impressive 84-65 win against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Jan. 9 and a double-overtime 95-93 victory over Springfield College on Feb. 2.
In the playoffs, the Lions defeated Springfield College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute en route to its first ever NEWMAC title. With the win, the Lions also qualified for the Division III NCAA tournament for the first time in the program’s history.
Curley says the hard work of the basketball team and Emerson Athletics enabled him to win Coach of the Year.
“It’s great for our program and for the hard work our kids, Coach Barrett, and Coach Halpin have put in. Everybody in the [athletics department]—it’s a real team effort,” Curley said. “All our coaches here, we all lean on each other so we’re learning. It’s not really about me, it’s about the hard work everyone has put into this, and I’ve benefited from it.”
Four players from the men’s basketball team also received honors in the 2018-19 NEWMAC postseason awards. Senior guard Geoff Gray and junior guard Jack O’Connor made the First and Second All-Conference Team respectively. Freshman guard Zach Waterhouse won Rookie of the Year, and fellow freshman guard Trevor McLean made the All-Sportsmanship Team.
Curley praised his players for putting in the time and effort to have a successful season.
“I’m so happy for them,” Curley said. “Jack O’Connor has taken time out of his day to work on some extra shooting. You can’t say enough about Geoff Gray for all the hard work he’s put in—the dedication, the commitment, the sacrifice—and he’s taken his classroom work ethic and put it to basketball.”
Curley said Gray’s work ethic on and off the court motivates the younger players.
“[Gray is] showing our team that you can get a great education, you can be involved in all the different things academically and still carve out time to work on your game,” Curley said. “To see that happening is tremendous, and it’s a direct reflection—especially off of [Zach] Waterhouse—and showing the young guys like Trevor [McLean] what it takes to be a successful college player.”