When the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team opens its 2016-17 season Nov. 15, no coach in the 76-year history of the men's basketball program will have coached more years than 15th-year head coach Bill Geitner.
Already having coached and won more games than any of the previous nine coaches, Geitner will join the late Francis E. Geissler in terms of length of service to the program when the Warriors tip-off against WPI in Worcester, MA.
En route to his sixth straight 20-win season in 2014/15, Geitner became the first coach in program history to reach 200 coaching victories. Geitner will coach his 200th LEC regular-season game when the Warriors host UMass Dartmouth Jan. 11.
Geitner, the tenth coach in program history, took over as the program's winningest coach with his second win of 2014/15, which occured when the Warriors won their own Eastern Tip-Off Tournament title with a 74-53 win over Colby College.
Two weeks later, Geitner moved to the head of Eastern's all-time coaching class in games coached, when the Warriors won the University of Rochester Thanksgiving Invitational in the eighth game of the season, the 339th in Geitner's Eastern coaching career.
Until 2009/10, the program had managed only two seasons of at least 20 victories in its history. That year, Geitner guided the Warriors to the first of six straight 20-win campaigns. The Warriors are 132-47 in the last six years (73.7 winning percentage) and have competed in three NCAA and three ECAC tournaments in that span, winning the 2012/13 ECAC championship.
In a conference where every game is hardwood warfare, Geitner has directed Eastern to the top of the heap, the Warriors compiling a gaudy record of 71-13 (84.5 percent) in conference regular-season play since 2010/11.
In 2015/16, the Warriors were unbeatable at home against LEC opponents in the regular-season, winning all seven contests at Geissler Gym en route to their sixth straight year of at least ten conference victories.
The 2014/15 club won 22 and lost only six overall, winning five straight games early and six in a row twice thereafter. Coming off the first 14-0 Little East Conference regular season in LEC history, Eastern was nearly as good the following year, winning its first eight and its last five conference games on either side of an LEC road loss for a 13-1 mark.
In 2011/12, Bill Geitner performed a feat that had not been done with the men's basketball program in nearly 20 years: he led the Warriors to two NCAA tournament victories and a berth in the NCAA Division III Sweet 16.
After winning the program's first Little East Conference tournament title since 2000, Geitner orchestrated a run through the NCAA tournament which included a regional championship with victories over Medaille College and in double overtime, a buzzer-beating triumph over host SUNY Oswego.
In 2012/13, even though the Warriors attained the 20-win plateau for the fourth straight season (22-8) , they were unable to reach that monumental feat of the previous season. Instead, they "settled" for the next best thing by completing an unprecedented run through the ECAC New England Tournament that resulted in the program's first championship in that tournament. Moreover, it was the University's first ECAC title of any sorts in 11 years -- first by a men's program in 39 seasons.
Each summer, Geitner and his staff and players direct the popular co-ed Eastern Connecticut Basketball Camp at Geissler Gymnasium. The camp has enjoyed full enrollment in recent years.
Beginning in 2009/10, Geitner was been voted LEC Coach-of-the-Year four times in six seasons. For his program-record 24-win season in 2011/12, he was named NABC Northeast Region and LEC Coach-of-the-Year. With Eastern picked for a share of fourth in the LEC pre-season poll, Geitner led the Warriors to their first regular-season conference title in the 26-year history of the championship and a program-record (to that point) 11 wins in 14 contests. The program's overall 80.0 winning percentage was the program's highest since 1969/70.
In 2010/11, Geitner directed the club to a second straight 20-win season and a second straight No. 1 seed in the ECAC tournament. The 21 wins in 2010/11 tied the program season record for wins, but stood up for less than a year.
In 2009/10, Geitner enjoyed a breakthrough season with the program, leading the Warriors to the third 20-win season in program' history and the No.1 seed in the ECAC New England Division III Tournament.
The Fullton, NY native was named the tenth head coach in Eastern Connecticut State University men’s basketball history in the summer of 2002.
In his first season at Eastern in 2002/03, Geitner inherited only six letterwinners and no seniors, but the Warriors came within a bucket of upsetting third-seeded Keene State College on its home court in the opening round of the LEC tournament. Picked to finish sixth in the conference coaches’ pre-season poll prior to his second season, Eastern shared third place, winning eight of 14 regular-season conference games. On the final day of the regular season last year, Eastern avenged an earlier double-digit loss to Rhode Island College to shock the eventual LEC tournament champion.
Before accepting his current assignment, Geitner had been an assistant at five different institutions, most recently at Division I Loyola College in Maryland.
While Geitner has coached at all three college levels, he spent nine years as an assistant coach at three Division III institutions after lettering four seasons at Division III Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, from 1983 through 1987.“At heart, I’m a Division III person,” says Geitner, whose Division III coaching resume includes six years (1991-97) at the University of Rochester, NY, two (1989-91) at Hamilton, and one (1988-89) at Hobart College in Geneva, NY.
“I played at the Division III level and enjoyed the atmosphere. I can relate to student-athletes at that level, because I’ve gone through what they’re being asked to go through.” Geitner holds a B.A. in Government from Hamilton and earned his M.S. in Administration from the University of Rochester in 1997.
Geitner and wife Sheri (Harrod) have two children, Annika Christine, 16, and Brian Emil,14, and reside in Tolland.
|EASTERN MEN'S BASKETBALL IN 14 YEARS UNDER HEAD COACH BILL GEITNER|
#-NCAA tournament +-ECAC tournament ($-champion)