When the Siena women's basketball team travels for a non-conference game at Rhode Island on November 17, there will be a familiar face on the opposing bench.
That would be Gina Castell who, for the previous 23 seasons (one as an assistant coach, the last 22 as head coach) had directed the Siena program.
Castelli recently accepted a newly created position as director of player personnel with the Kingston, R.I., program under head coach Kathy Inglese.
Castelli is held in such high regard by Inglese that the position was created specifically for her. She will serve not only directly with players but also be another veteran voice on a staff that, otherwise, had been inhabited mostly by lightly-experineced assistant coaches.
Inglese had been in contact with Castelli about the position since shortly after Siena decided to go in a new coaching direction this past March. The ex-Saints' coach opted to take the Rhode Island job earlier this month, and traveled to Rhode Island today (Tuesday) to sign her contract and begin working there.
By bringing Castelli aboard Rhode Island gets a veteran, experienced former head coach who has had considerable previous success (five times the MAAC's Coach of the Year) on the Division I level.
The Siena program, though, has had a string of eight straight sub-.500 losing records overall, thus prompting school administrators to break ties with Castelli.
A variety of injuries to key players, during that stretch, contributed to the team's recent stretch of non-winning records, but the bottom never truly dropped out. And, even despite the injury woes (the team lost its starting point guard for all of last season in its opening game, and had two talented freshmen redshirt due to injury), Siena finished in fourth place in the MAAC standings in each of the past two seasons.
The position enables Castelli to remain in the profession and to be visible within college basketball.
This blogger has no doubt that Castelli will soon resurface as a head coach at a Division I program, and the school that hires her will be fortunate to bring her aboard.