Friday, August 28, 2009

Catching Up: Coyle is Out, Ruland is In

In case you missed it, there was some news regarding two very prominent former MAAC coaches over the summer.

On July 31 the New York Liberty of the WNBA fired former Loyola coach Patty Coyle. The team got off to a 6-11 start, and the move was made to replace Coyle with her assistant, former All-American Anne Donovan, who had previously coached three other WNBA teams. Donovan was also the coach of the 2008 Olympic team that won the gold medal in Beijiing.

Coyle's career included became Loyola's head coach in 1992, inheriting a team that had a 31-135 record over the prior six seasons, and turned that program around. During her time there the Greyhounds had a 100-77 record and won two conference titles (1993-94 and 1994-95), also earning an NCAA Tournament berth both years.

Coyle's record as coach of the WNBA's Literty was 81-90.

There were reports a year ago that several college programs with openings had interest in Coyle, but were unable to pry her loose from her contract with the WNBA team. The expectation is that she will eventually return to college coaching.

Meanwhile, former Iona coach Jeff Ruland, an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers last season, has returned to the college ranks as the new head coach of the University of the District of Columbia on Aug. 18. Ruland signed a five-year contract with the school.

"Coach Ruland is the perfect choice at the perfect time," said school president Allen Sessoms, upon Ruland's hiring. "As we continue to strengthen and raise the profile of this institution, athletics is a serious component, and adding quality leadership like that of Jeff Ruland creates a strong foundation well into the future."

The school is examining the possibility of moving up to the Division I level from its current status as a Division II program.

Ruland has a strong recognition factor in the D.C. area, having played for that city's Washington Bullets' NBA franchise from 1981 through 1986.

Ruland became Iona's head coach in 1998, having previously served as an assistant under Tim Welch. In nine seasons there he compiled a 139-135 record, had three 20-win seasons (1999-00, 2000-01, 2005-06) and went to the NCAA tournament in all three of those seasons.

He was fired after his 2006-07 team finished 2-28.

No comments: