Even though their seasons ended abruptly because of the coronavirus pandemic, coaches from the 45 Division 1 men’s and women’s college basketball programs across New England have formed a coalition to promote slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Team New England, an initiative started by Brown University men’s coach Mike Martin, united D1 coaches from 23 schools across the region via social media. The effort was inspired by Team New York, a group of New York coaches organized by Ben Horwitz, a Syracuse graduate assistant, and Andy Borman, executive director of the NY RENS basketball program. Martin reached out to Borman for advice on how to involve New England coaches.
“I just wanted to try to think a little bigger and try to involve all six New England states,” Martin said. “It’s hard to say no to this and use your social media platforms for good.”
Each coach will use social media platforms to post public health information relating to COVID-19 and how to keep people safe and healthy.
“I think one thing I’ve been doing is just listening to what the professionals are talking about and saying about how we should stay healthy and safe,” Boston University men’s coach Joe Jones said. “We’re Zooming and calling our friends and family, but we’re not really letting anyone come inside [our house].”
BU, like many programs across the country, was ready to play postseason basketball before the pandemic began, but the NCAA Tournament was canceled. Now that Jones has some downtime, he’s been able to reconnect with his team, which won the Patriot League tournament to qualify for the NCAAs, while spreading the message of practicing social distancing, hand-washing, and other public health measures. He said his team understands the gravity of the situation.
“They seem to all be more like everybody else, bored and wondering when this is going to end," Jones said. "We haven’t really dove into how they feel about not getting a chance to play … I think they kind of understand.”
Jadyn Bush, a sophomore forward on the Harvard women’s team, has done more than raising awareness via social media. The Seattle-area native has been making masks for front line workers, while her coach emphasized the importance of keeping everyone calm during this stressful time.
“It’s hard for everyone and I’m trying to get me and my team to reach out,” said Harvard women’s coach Kathy Delaney-Smith. “Start with your families. We had a Zoom meeting and told our kids, ‘The giving starts at home.’ Your family is going crazy, too . . . these kinds of things matter.”
TEAM NEW ENGLAND
▪ Boston College — Jim Christian (men); Joanna Bernabei-McNamee (women)
▪ Boston University — Joe Jones (men); Marisa Moseley (women)
▪ Brown — Mike Martin (men); Monique LeBlanc (women)
▪ Bryant — Jared Grasso (men); Mary Burke (women)
▪ Central Connecticut State — Donyell Marshall (men); Kerri Reaves (women)
▪ Dartmouth — David McLaughlin (men); Belle Koclanes (women)
▪ Fairfield — Jay Young (men); Joe Frager (women)
▪ Hartford — John Gallagher (men); Morgan Valley (women)
▪ Harvard — Tommy Amaker (men); Kathy Delaney-Smith (women)
▪ Holy Cross — Brett Nelson (men); Maureen Magarity (women)
▪ Maine — Richard Barron (men); Amy Vachon (women)
▪ Merrimack - Joe Gallo (men)
▪ New Hampshire — Bill Herrion (men); Kelsey Hogan (women)
▪ Northeastern — Bill Coen (men); Kelly Cole (women)
▪ Providence — Ed Cooley (men), Jim Crowley (women)
▪ Quinnipiac — Baker Dunleavy (men); Tricia Fabbri (women)
▪ Rhode Island — David Cox (men); Tammi Reiss (women)
▪ Sacred Heart — Anthony Latina (men); Jessica Mannetti (women)
▪ UConn — Dan Hurley (men); Geno Auriemma (women)
▪ UMass Amherst — Matt McCall (men); Tory Verdi (women)
▪ UMass Lowell — Pat Duquette (men); Tom Garrick (women)
▪ Vermont — John Becker (men); Alisa Kresge (women)
▪ Yale — James Jones (men); Allison Guth (women)