Sean Coffey took the reins as head coach ahead of the 2016-17 season. He has led the Pioneers to a 59-45 overall record and a 38-24 mark in the Empire 8. This helped earn the berths into the Empire 8 Conference Tournament in three (2017, 2018, and 2020) of his first four seasons at the helm. Coffey is the first Utica College head basketball coach in over a decade to have winning seasons in each of the last three years.
The 2019-20 regular-season highlights:
- A non-conference win over local rival Hamilton.
- Pioneers made a school-record of 48 foul shots to take down the No. 22 Continentals.
- Held the national lead in three-point shooting percentage for a lengthy stretch of the regular season.
2aDays: What is the most important quality you look for in a recruit?
Talent, Drive, Lack of moodiness (inefficient and selfish)
2aDays: What is the best way for a recruit to get on your radar?
Contact us. Show genuine interest in what we’re doing at Utica College. We can tell when you’ve sent a mass email to several coaches. What events will you be involved in? Perform well. We’re typically interested in those who fit UC and are interested in us.
2aDays: When should an athlete contact you? What is the best way? (age, grade, time of year, email, phone, or other)
Mid-junior year to early senior year. Email works well. Phone calls can go a long way too. This means you’re taking the time to contact us at that moment.
2aDays: What are your expectations for incoming players in the classroom, in the weight room, and on the court?
We have a wide range of student-athletes from very different academic, athletic and cultural backgrounds (inner-city/rural). We want them to have an inner drive toward constant improvement in all areas. We will mold and direct that drive with technique and coaching as they get deeper into our program. But, they must be ready to provide effort and have a willingness to learn and be coached. Also, everyone thinks they have worked really hard prior to college until they show up to college. It will be a culture shock, and you will be pushed to and through limits that you never fathomed. The better you understand, accept, and attack that, the better you will come out and the less discouraged you may become.
2aDays: What are the dos and don’ts of being recruited?
Do stay in contact, provide updates, visit schools early (before senior season begins), keep communication lines open, be honest (especially when you feel the college/program is not a fit for you) Do not Ignore coaches, be dishonest (leading coaches on), burn bridges (it will follow you).
2aDays: What is the best advice you can offer a recruit?
Keep options open. Unless you’re a sure D1 prospect with several scholarship offers to receive a free education at institutions that offer the area of study you’re looking for, be open to all levels. Look for the best fit academically, athletically, socially, financially. Don’t knock a level (D3 stinks…) when you’ve never seen a game/competition at that level.
2aDays: What really jumps out to you when reviewing a recruit’s highlight tape?
Versatility. Score from multiple areas, guard multiple areas, positions, body types. Positive body language and a great teammate.
2aDays: What are the main dos and don’ts for a recruit’s highlight tape?
Do not have songs with profanity, have only leak out layups/all transition plays (we need players who can play in the half-court against a set defense), multiple drawn-out free-throws. Do have scoring from your strength areas, defensive ability, rebounding/physicality. Do not paint a picture of the type of player that you are not with highlights.
2aDays: When do you recommend recruits put together and share their highlight reels? Is it best to make their highlight reel during the offseason, in the middle of the season, or after each game?
2aDays: What advice do you have for recruits who get turned down by their dream schools? What are their options if they don’t gain the recruiting attention they desire?
Be accepting and excited to play for the schools that value you.
2aDays: How big a factor is social media when recruiting players? What advice do you have for athletes regarding social media?
Avoid it if possible. We’ve cut communication with prospects over poor use of language and attitude posted on their social media. Learn to live life without it. There was a time when it did not exist.
* Originally published on March 8, 2021, by Keirsten Sires