Tim Sweeney named men's basketball coach at Connecticut College
New London — Connecticut College's new men's basketball coach once played in the Division III Final Four and served as a Division I assistant coach working with Stephen Curry.
Meet Tim Sweeney.
The Camels announced Sweeney's hiring on Thursday.
Sweeney comes to Conn College from Hobart College where he compiled an 84-48 record over five seasons, going 17-11 last season and reaching the Liberty League Tournament championship game.
When reached by phone on Thursday, Sweeney already was in New London, crossing off items on his long list of things to do.
"Pretty busy plate right now," Sweeney said. "It's a good busy, for sure. I'm trying to get some work done here the next day or two, primarily finding a place to live. There's a tournament this weekend in Providence. I'm eager to hit the ground running."
The Camels also interviewed Yale associate head coach Matt Kingsley, former New London High School great Tyson Wheeler and Groton native Glen Miller, who led the Camels to their only Final Four appearance in 1999.
Wheeler said he was never offered the job while Miller turned down an offer and elected to stay at the University of Saint Joseph where he's an associate head coach under Jim Calhoun.
What made the job attractive in Sweeney's eyes?
"First and foremost, the school and its terrific academic reputation," Sweeney said. "The location and being in one of the premier leagues in all of Division III were draws. The biggest draws were people that I met on campus. ... They have an exciting vision, which was incredibly appealing."
Sweeney replaces Dan Lee, an interim head coach in his only season during which the Camels went 7-17 overall.
"We are very excited to welcome Tim Sweeney into our community," director of athletics Fran Shields said in a release. "We are confident that he can move our program in a positive direction with the goal of competing for NESCAC championships and NCAA berths. It was evident through our process that Tim's work ethic, competition level, and proven leadership of student-athletes will improve our program and provide an outstanding experience for our student-athletes."
Sweeney has taken an interesting route on his basketball journey.
A native of Dumont, N.J., Sweeney was a four-year starting point guard at the University of Rochester, helping lead the team to two NCAA trips and a Final Four appearance in 2002.
It was then that Conn College appeared on Sweeney's radar. He took notice of the Camels' magical run to the Final Four.
"Conn College was incredibly successful," Sweeney said. "They actually played in the (Final Four) in 1999, my first year in college. I knew of them and knew of their success."
His coaching resume includes a two-season stint as an assistant on Bob McKillop's staff at Davidson College where Curry, a future NBA all-star and world champion, carried the Wildcats to a surprising run to the 2008 Elite Eight. He also worked as an assistant at Bucknell and served as an assistant and then associate head coach at Elon University (2009-13) before landing at Hobart in Geneva, N.Y., in August of 2014.
"I've been pretty fortunate to have some great experiences," Sweeney said.
Sweeney takes over a struggling Conn program that has posted just one winning overall record in the last 10 seasons. The Camels dropped all 10 NESCAC games last season. They haven't qualified for the conference tournament since 2011.
The Camels are graduating two players including leading scorer David Labossiere who averaged 18.1 points and six rebounds.
Sweeney is excited about the challenge of rebuilding the program and coaching in the highly-competitive NESCAC. He's looking forward to moving to the area with his wife, Lisa, and two-year old son, Henry, who is already shooting free throws every morning.
"The biggest thing we have to do is focus on what we can control and that's getting better individually and as a group, coming up with an identity that we can leverage and be proud of," Sweeney said. "That's where we have to start."
• In other news, the Camels are searching for a replacement for men's soccer coach Kenny Murphy, who's stepping down after 10 highly-successful seasons. He's led the program to two straight NCAA appearances for the first time.
"A little bit of a surprise," Shields said recently about Murphy's decision. "I think he has a health issue with his back. He had a pretty complex surgery on his back two years ago. And it's kind of like he needed that surgery again and they don't want to do it.
"That's one reason. He didn't really elaborate his other reasons. It's too bad. He gave us 10 great years."
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