By Leslie Crofton, Sports Information Intern


The 2001-02 Rhode Island College men’s basketball team will be coached by an entirely new staff this year, with Head Coach Mike Kelly at the helm. If you’re familiar with the RIC athletic department staff at all you might be thinking that the women’s hoops coach has switched over to the men’s program- not the case. This Mike Kelly is new to RIC, coming from the basketball programs at Davidson College and Virginia Tech, while Mike Kelley is the long-time women’s basketball coach at RIC.

Two more new faces will assist first-year Anchormen coach Kelly with his revamping of the basketball program, assistant coaches Jeff Caron and Patrick McNulty. Caron has coached at Little East Conference rival institution Plymouth State College and McNulty has been a coach at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

The Kelly regime takes over for [Head Coach] Dave Johnston’s staff, which filled in on an interim basis last season, after long-time coach James Adams announced his retirement in September of 2000.

When asked what his feelings are about starting the 2001-2002 campaign with an entirely new coaching staff, Coach Kelly responded enthusiastically, “We have a great staff here. Jeff Caron and Patrick McNulty both bring tremendous experience and knowledge to the team. The three of us will be working very hard together to ensure that our players benefit as much as possible.”

Last year’s Anchormen finished the season with record of 8-16 overall and 4-10, good for seventh place, in the Little East Conference. Because the team is still in the early stages of preseason practice, it is too soon to say what the squad’s finite goals, in terms of win-loss record or conference finish, will be as of yet. Both the coaching staff and the players themselves are already striving for other more general goals, however. “My foremost goal is to lay the foundation of a great program this year,” says Kelly. “I am committed to the team and to devoting the necessary time to focusing on details, the little things that make the difference. We want to build from this team and season in the future. I want us to be the hardest working and the toughest team on our schedule. We’ll accomplish this by getting better every day in practice.”

Guards Pete Mollo and Mike Monahan and forward Scott Main are expected to lead the Anchormen on the court this season. Kelly describes Mollo as “a great leader, both on the court and around campus,” while lauding Monahan and Main as “helpful to me as I adjusted to RIC and in leading the younger guys on the team.”

Mollo is optimistic about the 2001-2002 campaign and the new coaching staff that comes with it, saying, “We have some great freshmen, everyone has a really positive attitude, we all want to win. Coach Kelly’s style matches ours, things are going to be a lot different this year.” “The new staff is going to be good for us,” agrees Monahan. “Things already seem more organized and disciplined; it’s great to have coaches who are young and energetic.”

Coach Kelly’s feelings about his players are just as positive as those of his players are about him. “I am very excited about the upcoming season,” says Kelly. “I have a bunch of great guys on the team. They worked extremely hard on their own during preseason, they’ve done everything that I asked of them. I really look forward to working with them every day.”

The Anchormen will begin the 2001-2002 campaign on Friday, Nov. 17 against Western New England College at the Hartwick Holiday Classic. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.


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