John Gallagher has signed a new contract that will keep him as head coach of the University of Hartford men’s basketball team, Director of Athletics Mary Ellen Gillespie announced on Wednesday.
“This was a very good season for Hartford men’s basketball,” said Gillespie. “Nineteen Division I wins is the best in program history and our young men are having a very positive experience. With most of the roster returning — and with John entering his ninth season as head coach — this is Hartford’s time. The expectations are high: We expect to compete for a championship and are very excited for next season.”
Hartford’s record-breaking season also featured the program’s second Division I postseason appearance. In addition, Gallagher, who was named the 2018 America East co-Coach of the Year, led the Hawks to one of the best single-season turnarounds in program history in 2017-18.
“It is both very humbling and exciting to have the opportunity to continue to lead the men’s basketball program at the University of Hartford,” said Gallagher. “I am privileged to represent an elite institution comprised of so many high-character professionals and students. I want to thank Mary Ellen Gillespie and President Woodward for the confidence that they have demonstrated in our student-athletes and coaches.”
Picked to finish eighth in the America East after a 9-23 finish in 2016-17, Hartford made a 10-win improvement and broke the program’s Division I win record by going 19-14 this past season. In addition, the team’s 18 wins during the regular season were the most in Hartford’s 34-year Division I history.
The Hawks finished third in the America East with an 11-5 record, marking the best conference winning percentage in program history. Hartford advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament where they fell to eventual champion UMBC.
Hartford’s success led to the program’s second invitation to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT), where the Hawks came up short in a road game at San Diego. Hartford made its first-ever postseason tournament appearance under Gallagher in 2012-13, when the Hawks were also invited to the CIT.
In addition to all of the team’s successes, Gallagher also reached key milestones in his coaching career during the 2017-18 campaign. Three days after becoming the fifth coach in program history to reach 100 wins with a 79-62 victory at New Hampshire, Gallagher became Hartford’s winningest Division I coach after defeating Stony Brook, 73-64.
Gallagher’s 106 career wins are 22 shy of Jack Phelan, who has won the most games in program history (128), including 99 Division I victories.
Hartford’s players have flourished under Gallagher, as a program-record five players were selected to America East All-Conference teams this past season. Redshirt-junior John Carroll highlighted that list by earning Second Team All-Conference honors. In addition, Jason Dunne and J.R. Lynch, a pair of juniors, were each named Third Team All-Conference while senior Hassan Attia earned a spot on the All-Defensive Team.
During his career, Gallagher has combined for 19 All-Conference honorees, including two First Team, four Second Team, four Third Team, four All-Defensive Team, three All-Rookie Team and two All-Academic Team members.
The Hawks have also excelled in the classroom during Gallagher’s tenure. This past semester, 15 players earned a 3.0 grade-point average or higher, with nearly half (7) earning GPAs of 3.5 or better and two registering perfect 4.0 GPAs. Overall, Gallagher’s squad posted an outstanding 3.46 team GPA.
The outlook for the 2018-19 season is also bright, as Gallagher returns the core of his team — 11 players including all but one starter — for his ninth season in West Hartford. The group accounted for 83 percent of the team’s offense and includes four of the top scorers from this past season.
Gallagher became the 10th coach in the 69-year history of the University of Hartford men’s basketball program. Previously serving as an associate head coach for the Hawks from 2006-08, he returned to Hartford after spending two seasons on Glen Miller’s staff at the University of Pennsylvania.