D3 NEWS: RIT’s McVean announces retirement

Rochester Institute of Technology Men’s Basketball Head Coach Bob McVean announced his intention to retire after 40 seasons on the Tiger bench.

“I am very fortunate to have been able to do something I love at the same excellent academic university for 40 years. The most special thing to me has been the relationships with hundreds of players throughout the years,” said McVean. “It is gratifying to see them move on to their careers and return to campus with their families.

“I am thankful for the dedication and hard work of all my assistant coaches and for the support from my colleagues on the RIT Athletics staff. A special thanks to former RIT Athletic Director Lou Spiotti for having faith in me 40 years ago. It has been a truly wonderful journey for me and my family. Now, it is time for a new coach to begin their journey at RIT.”

The winningest coach in RIT men’s basketball history, McVean directed the Tigers to a 556-490 record the past 40 seasons, including six 20-win seasons, five Empire Athletic Association titles, two Empire 8 championships and six NCAA Tournament appearances.

In 45 total years as a head coach, McVean finished his career with 613 wins which is third-most among active Division III coaches and 18th in Division III all-time. He is a two-time NABC East Region Coach of the Year and seven-time Empire 8 Coach of the Year.

“Bob set a high standard for achievement on and off the court during his tenure at RIT,” said Executive Athletic Director Jacqueline Nicholson. “For four decades, he has been the face of the program and is responsible for generations of players becoming not only good basketball players, but good people when they left campus. He will forever be associated with RIT basketball.”

McVean’s players combined to garner 77 all-conference honors during his tenure, including 25 first-team selections and four three-time honorees, along with seven conference rookies of the year.

McVean coached seven All-Americans and five National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-Americans.

McVean mentored 10 of the program’s top-12 scorers as well as 22 Tigers who eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau, including all-time leading scorer and three-time All-American Craig Jones ’97 who finished with 1,984 points and Brandon Redmond ’02 who was third with 1,455 points.

McVean guided the Tigers on an unprecedented three-year run from 1994-97, starting with a 20-5 record and a bid into the NCAA Tournament en route to Empire Athletic Association Coach of the Year honors in 1994-95. He then directed the 1995-96 Tigers to a 22-4 record and a bid into the NCAA Tournament, earning EAA Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season.

McVean led RIT through a magical 1996-97 campaign. The Tigers finished with a program-record 24-4 record, winning their first 13 games of the season. After two losses in four games, RIT won seven of its last eight games to earn the top seed in the NCAA East region. The Tigers edged Rochester, 65-64 in the opening round NCAA Tournament before defeating Buffalo State, 111-106 in double-overtime before to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. McVean was named EAA Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year.

McVean led RIT to a 20-6 record in 1999-2000, winning the Empire 8 crown. The Tigers received a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament before falling to Penn State-Behrend in the second round.

Committed to the ideals of the student-athlete, McVean’s players have excelled in the classroom, earning 27 Liberty League All-Academic awards. Additionally, Mark Carson (3rd Team) were voted Academic All-Americans by College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA).

RIT will conduct a national search for a new head coach immediately.

Sandra Johnson – RIT Senior Vice President Student Affairs
Coach McVean has not merely sculpted champions on the basketball court but has profoundly shaped the lives of countless student-athletes at RIT. As we bid farewell to a legendary coach, we celebrate a mentor, a leader, and an integral pillar of the RIT community. His contributions will forever echo in the halls of RIT, inspiring generations to come.

Lou Spiotti Jr. – Former RIT Executive Athletic Director
“I’m absolutely thrilled that Coach Bob McVean is moving into a new and exciting phase of his career. Bob has left behind an incredible legacy of accomplishments, championships and honors. In every aspect of his career Coach McVean exuded class, integrity and character. He was and continues to be the commensurate role model and possessed a work ethic that was unparalleled. You can always bet that his teams and coaches were better prepared than his opponents. But most notably, he was the commensurate role model not only for his student athletes but for everyone around him. I was one who greatly benefited from his presence, professionalism and unique sense of humor.  I am proud to have served alongside Bob for almost 4 decades and am thankful for all he has meant to the RIT Athletics legacy.

Craig Jones ’97
Coach McVean was the reason why I chose to attend and play basketball at RIT. It was clear from the start he cared about my life on and off the basketball court. He made it a point to get to know my family and continually inquired about my academics. Coach McVean was absolutely a father figure to me during my time at RIT and we remain in close contact to this day. He’s truly a special person in my life.

Coach McVean took a chance on me as a Basketball player. I wasn’t initially recruited by that many colleges, but he noticed something in me and my potential. Coach continued to push me while also providing me with confidence and support. There were many times my freshman year I wanted to give up as I wasn’t playing that much, but with his guidance I stuck with it and worked on my skills throughout and after my first season and became a much better player due to Coach.

Coach created such a family atmosphere throughout my four years playing Basketball at RIT. Yes, we had very successful teams and probably the best run ever at RIT……but we appreciated each other and felt like we were a family on and off the court. Many of the team are still connected and communicate to this day. I will truly miss Coach not being there when I attend games moving forward. Every time I returned to campus, he welcomed me with open arms and always took the time to check in with me and my family. Coach was a role model to all of his players and our family of a program is evidence of that 30 years later!

Troy Pierre-Louis ’18
Unfortunately you have to be a few years removed from his coaching to reap the benefits of some of his best lessons. I remember what he said to me during my recruiting visit – “you hope to make me a better basketball player, but you promise to make me a better man over my four years at RIT.” Now, some years removed from your coaching, I can confidently say that you kept your word. Wins are nice, and he has plenty, but I hope he is most proud of the confidence he instilled in hundreds of young men. He prepared us for games, but most importantly he prepared us for life and we’ll always be most thankful for that.”

Chris Reed ’86
Coach McVean has had such a positive impact on so many of his players’ lives and mine was no exception! To me he was a coach, a mentor, and a friend. Playing basketball at RIT and working Coach McVean’s basketball camps along side of some of the very best coaches in NY State had an everlasting impact on my teaching and coaching career, and I am forever grateful! Wishing Coach McVean nothing but the best in his retirement!! Congratulations on an amazing career!

Michael Stanton ’03
When I think of Coach McVean, I think of all the times he was available to talk about basketball or any other concern I may have had. His office door was always open for discussions, even long after I graduated. I find his recall of specific games amazing, even if they occurred 20 years ago!

Brian Wachter ’95
It is difficult to sum up an almost 35-year relationship in just a few lines. But as Coach McVean retires after an incredible 40+ year journey, I want to extend my deepest gratitude for his unwavering dedication, leadership, and mentorship. Coach McVean’s passion for the game and commitment to developing not only skilled student-athletes, but also well-rounded individuals, has left an indelible mark on all of us who have had the privilege of being under his guidance. However, as a husband and father myself, his true legacy is watching the relationship he has with his wife, Debbie, his three kids and all his grandchildren. He has been a great coach, but is an even better man and role model.


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