A big announcement came today for Sacred Heart and Conference hoops as a whole as word came out that Dave Bike will retire as head coach after 35 years at the helm.
His replacement has apparently already been found in assistant coach Anthony Latina. A news conference is expected sometime next week.
Bike took over the Pioneers in 1978 and led them to an NCAA Division II national title in 1986. He also oversaw their move to Division I, beginning in the 1999-2000 season.
He had a 520-479 record as a head coach, all with the Pioneers. He only made two other stops in his collegiate coaching career, first as an assistant with the program from 1965-67, then a four-year stint as an assistant with Seattle from 1974-1976.
A Connecticut native who was an all-region selection in prep basketball, Bike was drafted into the Detroit Tigers’ farm system out of high school, catching for eight seasons with the organization. He opted to return to basketball, receiving a degree in mathematics from Sacred Heart as a member of the third graduating class in school history (showing you how deep his roots run with the school.) and served as an assistant on the basketball team for two seasons while in school.
Latina just wrapped his eighth season on Bike’s bench, is a Connecticut native who also spent time as an assistant at Central Connecticut State.
The one thing missing from Bike’s career is an NCAA [Division I] Tournament berth, falling short twice by making it to consecutive NEC Tournament title games in 2007 and 2008. But given his D-II national title and long career, I doubt it bothers him all that much.
(Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart athletics.)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.