Orono, Maine — Robert G. Walsh has been named University of Maine men's basketball head coach by Director of Athletics Karlton Creech, effective May 7.
Walsh comes to UMaine with nearly 20 years of highly successful Division I and Division III coaching experience. Most recently, for nine seasons he was head coach at Division III power Rhode Island College. Under Walsh's leadership, the Anchormen posted an overall record of 204–63 (.764 winning percentage) and made eight straight trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Prior to guiding Rhode Island College, for seven years Walsh was an assistant coach at Division I Providence College. In his seven seasons at Providence, the Friars' record was 182–146 (.555). In 2004, Providence attained the highest NCAA tournament seed in the school's history (No. 5) and the highest national ranking in 25 years (No. 12). That year, as well as in 2000, Providence posted its best Big East record of 11–5. Walsh led Providence to four 20-win seasons, two regular season league championships and six post-season appearances.
"I am excited to welcome Coach Bob Walsh to the Black Bear family," says Creech. "His time at Rhode Island College has been the most successful in the history of the program. In addition to his head coaching experience, Bob has 11 years of experience as a Division I assistant at Providence College, the University of San Diego and Iona College. Bob is a true student and teacher of the game of basketball, and shares his passion for leadership through his Dynamic Leadership Academy. Coach Walsh is highly respected in the college basketball community and ready for the challenge of leading and rebuilding UMaine's Division I program."
The UMaine search committee, led by Seth Woodcock, UMaine associate athletic director for development, was charged with finding a candidate who had substantial and successful head coaching experience, substantial experience at the Division I level, New England recruiting connections, and the proven ability to build and maintain a high-achieving college basketball program with an emphasis on and record of academic achievement.
"Bob Walsh is a perfect fit to lead our men's basketball program," Woodcock says. "He is a proven winner with a successful system built on the principles of accountability, trust, commitment and good old-fashioned hard work. His blue-collar work ethic, steadfast character, toughness and drive to succeed will resonate with our fans and community, and — most importantly — motivate and position our student-athletes to achieve their goals, both on and off the court. I couldn't be more excited about Bob being named our next head coach and about the future of UMaine basketball under his leadership."
Walsh earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Hamilton College in 1994 and a master's degree in mass communications from Iona College two years later.
He will fill the position vacated by Ted Woodward, whose contract was ended April 14. On May 6, Walsh's four-year contract was finalized. He will receive an annual salary of $100,000 in the first year, with a $5,000 increase in each of the next two years, and a $10,000 increase in the fourth year, bringing his annual salary to $120,000, effective July 1, 2017.
"I'm excited to begin the challenge of establishing a championship culture at the University of Maine as the leader of the men's basketball program," Walsh says. "I can't wait to be a part of the excellent academic and athletic culture at UMaine, and to embrace the energy and passion of the community."
News of Walsh's move to UMaine brought comments from a number of his colleagues and former players. Among them:
Providence College Athletic Director Bob Driscoll: "Coach Walsh is one of the most well-rounded coaches I have worked with in 38 years of college athletics. He is an 'architect' that understands how to build a foundation that will sustain long-term success on and off the court."
Columbia University head men's basketball coach Kyle Smith: "Bob Walsh is one of the most intellectually curious coaches in the college game. He is not afraid to take on different challenges and always finds a way to be a part of winning. The University of Maine will benefit greatly from his hard work, determination and ultra-competitive spirit. A true winner on and off the court."
Former Providence College All-American Ryan Gomes: "Coach Walsh is one of my favorite coaches that has ever coached me. Maine has hired a great guy who (is) going to challenge his players on and off the court. Glad he's got an opportunity to show what he can do with a Division I program."
Providence College head men's basketball coach Ed Cooley: "Bob is a great teacher and student of the game. His team will compete at a high level and be a tough out."
BOB WALSH — BY THE NUMBERS
2007, 2009, 2013 Little East Coach of the Year
2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 Rhode Island Sportswriters Coach of the Year
2012 Rhode Island College Alumni Association Staff Person of the Year
HEAD COACH — RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE
YEAR RECORD ACHIEVEMENTS
2013–14 20–9 LEC Tournament Champions — NCAA 1st Round
2012–13 26–4 LEC Reg. Season/Tourn. Champs — NCAA 2nd Round
2011–12 23–7 NCAA Tournament — 2nd Round
2010–11 21–8 LEC Reg. Season/Tourn. Champs — NCAA Sweet 16
2009–10 22–8 LEC Reg. Season/Tourn. Champs — NCAA Sweet 16
2008–09 23–6 LEC Reg. Season Champs — NCAA First Round
2007–08 23–7 LEC Tourn. Champs — NCAA Second Round
2006–07 27–4 LEC Reg. Season/Tourn. Champs — NCAA Elite 8
2005–06 19–10 ECAC Finalist
9 YEARS 204–63 (.764)
33–12 (.731) post-season record
21–3 LEC Tournament record
10–8 NCAA Tournament record — 8 straight NCAA Tournaments — 1 of 5 teams in the country
Appeared in eight straight LEC Tournament Championship games — LEC record
First tournament game appearances in school history
First outright Little East Championships in school history
2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 Regular Season Champions
2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 Tournament Champions
Two wins over Division I teams
RIC 71, Iona 62 — Nov. 4, 2006
RIC 61, Holy Cross 60 — Nov. 1, 2007
Sam Schonfeld Team Sportsmanship Award (2007) — Awarded by basketball officials
Best season start in school history — 15–1, 2006–07
Longest winning streak in school history — 14, 2008–09
Highest final national ranking in school history — No. 11, 2006–07
Hosted NCAA Tournament for first time in school history in 2007, as well as in 2009, 2013, 2014