September 2, 2010


Burns & Sorrentine Join RIC Men’s Basketball Staff

Providence, R.I.—Rhode Island College announced the hiring of Chris Burns and James Sorrentine as men’s basketball assistant coaches Tuesday. Both have prior coaching experience and will be spending their first seasons at the Division III level. 


Burns and Sorrentine will work under accomplished sixth-year head coach Bob Walsh. In Walsh’s tenure, the Anchormen have won the first three Little East Conference championships in program history. Rhode Island College advanced to the Elite Eight in 2007 and is coming off a Sweet 16 appearance last season.


“Chris and James are both very intelligent and have great experience in the game of basketball, and their additions will no doubt help us continue to compete at a championship level,” Walsh said.  “We are very lucky to have both of them on board.”



 Chris Burns


Burns began coaching last season as an assistant for the Manchester Millrats of the semi-professional Premier Basketball League (PBL). He joined the coaching staff in Manchester after spending the two preceding seasons in uniform as a player. 


“I am very excited to join the men's basketball program here at Rhode Island College,” Burns said. “Coach Walsh has created an outstanding culture of success and I look forward to helping build on that.”


Burns enjoyed a decorated playing career in the high school and collegiate ranks, headlined by his lead role in nearby Bryant University’s run to the 2005 Div. II National Championship Game. Although Bryant finished its record-setting 25-9 season in defeat, Burns was named Chevrolet Player of the Game for scoring 24 points and handing out six assists on a nationally televised, network broadcast of the final game. Burns enjoyed career-long success with the Bulldogs, winning over 90 games as a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter.


A native of Merrimack, N.H., Burns first gained notoriety in basketball at Merrimack High School. There, Burns earned honors as Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball for the state of New Hampshire. Burns is not new to the city of Providence, however, having walked on to the 2002-03 team at Providence College, for which Bob Walsh was an assistant coach.



 James Sorrentine


Sorrentine joins the Anchormen bench after spending the last two seasons as an assistant with his alma mater, St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt. In those two seasons, Sorrentine developed a solid background in both recruiting and scouting which will serve him well on the Rhode Island College staff.


“I am very excited and thankful to be joining the Rhode Island College men’s basketball program and to have an opportunity to learn from a great coach in Bob Walsh,” Sorrentine said.  “It is a dream come true to coach in my home state where my passion for the game of basketball started.”


Like Burns, Sorrentine also enjoyed a successful collegiate playing career at the Div. II level. His accomplishments live on in the St. Michael’s record books, where Sorrentine has the most career three-pointers (340) and scored 1,433 career points. Sorrentine was a team captain in his senior season and was also named to the All-Rookie Team for the Northeast 10 Conference in 2005.


For Sorrentine, the job at Rhode Island College brings him close to home. Sorrentine is a 2004 graduate of St. Raphael’s Academy in Pawtucket, where he also enjoyed a flourishing basketball career playing for his father (Tom Saar Sorrentine). While in high school, Sorrentine was a USA Today/McDonald’s All-American honorable mention, an Academic All-State selection, and Second-Team All-State in Rhode Island in 2004.  Both James and brother T.J. are now college basketball coaches in Providence, with the latter serving as an assistant on the men’s basketball staff at Brown.