GFU hires Coppolino to take over reins of women's basketball
With former coach Michael Meek departed to University of Portland, George Fox University wasted little time finding a replacement to head the women's basketball program. GFU announced on April 26 that it hired Michael Coppolino as its new head coach.
Coppolino arrives in Newberg from Mount Saint Mary College in New York. According to a release by the university, Coppolino turned around the MSM program and made it a "perennial conference contender." Coppolino's team was 35-1 in conference play over the past two seasons and was 23-6 last season – a far cry from the Knights' past struggles.
He has big shoes to fill in Newberg, to be sure. The Bruins' recent success under Meek leaves high expectations as Coppolino takes the reins; Meek was 230-35 in his time at George Fox.
"I am excited to be bringing Michael Coppolino into our program and am confident he understands our values of athletic excellence, academic success and Christ-like character, recognizing the high bar set by previous coaches Michael Meek and Scott Rueck," GFU Athletic Director Adam Puckett said in the release. "The head coaching position for our program attracted an incredible number of talented coaches from across the nation. I am thankful for a fantastic group of co-workers who served on our hiring committee, spending countless hours selecting the right coach.
"Mike's passion, determination to win and his basketball acumen shined through during the interview process, and I am confident we have found the best candidate to lead our program into the future."
Coppolino was 91-69 in six seasons at MSM and made it to just its sixth-ever NCAA tournament last season, where it beat Westfield State 85-80 in the first round. The Knights were 5-20 in 2014, so the turnaround was significant for MSM under Coppolino.
Prior to his coaching job in New York, Coppolino was an assistant in Alfred University's men's basketball program and was a clubhouse attendant for the Boston Red Sox for 11 years – during which he received two World Series rings in 2004 and 2007. He and his wife, oddly enough, live in a town called Newburgh, New York, now and are moving to Newberg, Oregon, soon.
"Looking at George Fox, I was so impressed by its 'students first' motto and the belief in empowering each student throughout their college experience," Coppolino said in the release. "My coaching philosophy is to help each student find their passion while being an educator and role model both on and off the basketball court.
"As a coach, my core values are honesty, discipline, attitude and passion. These are important traits to have and develop in college and well beyond in your career and livelihood."