Thursday, April 22, 2010

Former Stags' coach Cormier to Dartmouth

Veteran MAAC followers surely recall the days of Paul Cormier as the head coach at Fairfield. The cerebral, well-liked Cormier directed the Stags to the NCAA tournament at the end of the 1997-98 season, despite finishing regular-season play with a 9-14 record. But his team suffered a variety of debilitating injuries that season and got healthy in time for the conference tournament, which it swept. That was Fairfield's last trip to the NCAA's.

Cormier is back on a college sideline. It was announced this week that he will become Dartmouth's coach, returning to the Hanover, N.H., Ivy League school where he coached for seven seasons before he moved on to Fairfield.

Cormier had an 87-95 record at Dartmouth, but back-to-back seasons of 18-8 (1987-88) and 17-9 (1988-89) included consecutive second-place Ivy League finishes, the only time in 50 years that the program has finished as high as second in that leaugue in two straight seasons.

Cormier moved to Fairfield in 1991, coincidentally replacing Mitch Buonaguro who, earlier this month, was named Siena's new head coach.

Cormier had an 86-111 record at Fairfield in eight years, one 20-victory season (20-10 in 1995-96) and a reputation for having teams whose results belied their talent level. Under Cormier, the Stags were always solid and competitive, but after 11-19, 12-15 and 12-15 finishes his last three years the school parted ways with him.

Cormier, since, has had an active career as an NBA scout, serving a season with the New York Knicks, five seasons with the Boston Celtics, a year with the Memphis Grizzlies, two years with the New Jersey Nets and a year with the Golden State Warriors whre he had been its advance scout and director of college scouting.

In recent weeks, though, Cormier has been making inquiries about getting back into college coaching, even as an assistant coach.

Instead, he resurfaces as the head coach at Dartmouth, a good move for both sides.

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