Saint Anselm Men’s Basketball Coach Keith Dickson announces retirement; Chris Santo ‘15 named new Head Coach

After 38 years and 719 victories across 37 seasons, Saint Anselm College head men’s basketball coach Keith Dickson announced his retirement on Wednesday. Former Hawks standout Chris Santo ’15, who served as assistant coach under Dickson from 2016-20, has been named the 11th head coach in program history.

Dickson steps away from the program he took over in 1986, leaving a legacy of success few programs have experienced over three-plus decades. Compiling a 719-376 (.657) record on the Hilltop, the Hawks made 22 NCAA Division II tournament appearances under his watch, won two regional championships (1999-00, 2018-19) and made a Final Four appearance (2019).

“It has been an honor and a privilege for me to have been the head coach at Saint Anselm over all these years,” said Dickson. “Not too many people in this profession get to stay in one place for so long and it has truly meant the world to me and my family. I have had the opportunity to coach so many great players along the way and was fortunate to coach a lot of great teams. I am extremely proud of our program and will continue to cherish the many great relationships that have been developed during my tenure.”

The all-time winningest coach in Northeast-10 Conference history, Dickson’s 719 wins rank him ninth all-time in NCAA Division II men’s basketball. The Hawks won 20 or more games on 19 occasions and averaged just over 19 wins per season under his leadership. Saint Anselm posted a 486-254 (.657) record in NE10 play over Dickson’s career.

“I would like to thank [former Athletic Directors] Ted Paulauskas and Ed Cannon for taking a chance on a young assistant coach back in 1986,” said Dickson. “They gave me a great opportunity in a very competitive profession. I would also like to thank Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B. for his unwavering support of our program over the years.”

Santo returns to the Hilltop after three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Vermont and becomes the third alumnus to lead his alma mater, following George Lee ’36 (1934-38) and Tom Gotsill ’66 (1981-83). He returns to the Queen City after helping the Catamounts to three consecutive NCAA Division I postseason appearances.

“I very much look forward to working alongside Chris as he works tirelessly to build upon the championship foundation of Saint Anselm men’s basketball,” said Vice President for Athletics Daron Montgomery.

“First and foremost I’d like to congratulate Coach Dickson on an incredible career,” said Santo. “His impact on the college, the league, and the program is nothing short of remarkable. I’m grateful to have experienced his leadership as both a player and assistant coach, and understand the culture that he’s leaving behind. I couldn’t imagine a better mentor.

“I’d like to thank Daron (Montgomery) for entrusting me with this incredible opportunity. I can’t wait to get started! I look forward to rejoining the Anselmian community and am committed to maintaining the culture of excellence and the standard of success for our program moving forward.”

“I’m ecstatic that Chris has been named the new head coach at Saint Anselm and I believe that he’ll do an outstanding job,” said Dickson. “Chris was a great player for us and an integral part of some really good teams. He understands the college and the culture that has been developed in our program over the years. I think our current student-athletes will enjoy playing for him and he’ll help keep Saint A’s in the upper echelon of the NE10.”


Dickson was selected as the league’s Coach of the Year five times (1990, 1995, 1996, 2013, 2019) and coached six student-athletes who earned eight Northeast-10 Player of the Year accolades. Countless former Hawks went on to play professionally around the globe, with six currently on active rosters.

The Hawks program secured 10 Northeast-10 Championships during Dickson’s reign, the most of any team in league history. Saint Anselm also made 15 appearances in the league’s title game, more than any other program in the conference. Dickson was selected as one of the “40 Outstanding Individuals” in Northeast-10 Conference history in 2020, recognizing his outstanding success with the Saint Anselm men’s basketball program.

Winning his 700th career game against New Haven on Feb. 21, 2023, Dickson was, at the time, one of just five active NCAA head coaches across any division with 700 victories while only coaching at one institution (Jim Boeheim, Syracuse; Steve Ridder, Embry-Riddle; Tom Klusman, Rollins; Brian Baptiste, UMass Dartmouth).

A native of Rockland, Mass. where he was a standout basketball player at his hometown high school, Dickson moved on to play Division I college basketball at the University of New Hampshire from 1975-79. As an outstanding point guard, Dickson started all four years for the Wildcats and graduated with 1,202 career points, at the time placing him as the school’s third-highest all-time scorer.

He stepped into the coaching ranks immediately after leaving UNH, joining Biscayne College in Florida for one year and entered the NE10 a year later as assistant coach at Bentley. He then joined Saint Anselm as an assistant in 1985-86 and was named the program’s head coach the following season.

Dickson was inducted into the Saint Anselm Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003 while earning the Walter A. Smith Coaches Award at the New Hampshire Parade of Champions Banquet in February of 2003.

“Coach Dickson’s accomplishments over four decades are vast,” said Montgomery. “His ability to sustain competitive success is unmatched by many in the profession. However, what stands out most are the relationships Keith has built over 38 years with men’s basketball student-athletes. We will miss having Coach Dickson on the sideline in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium, but we know he and his family will be our biggest fans during the coming years on the Hilltop.”


During his time with the Catamounts, Santo was an essential member of UVM’s staff for three straight America East championships. This season, the Catamounts earned their eighth consecutive conference championship title and racked up 28 victories, tied for the second most in program history.

The Catamounts’ 79-24 record in his three seasons with the program earned the team three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances for the first time since 2005. Prior to returning to UVM, Santo spent one season as an assistant video coordinator for the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks where he worked closely with the team’s coaching staff to develop game plans and strategies for opponent scouts.

Prior to joining the Knicks franchise, Santo was an assistant coach for four seasons at Saint Anselm. Santo worked directly under Dickson, overseeing every facet of the program while the Hawks produced four straight NCAA Division II tournament teams, making the NCAA Division II Final Four in 2019. Santo mentored seven All-Conference performers and was honored as a part of the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ 30 Under 30 list in 2018.

Santo’s collegiate playing career began in Burlington where he played one season for Vermont before transferring to Saint Anselm for his final three seasons, helping the Hawks to two Northeast-10 regular season championships and an overall record of 64-24 (.727).

In his career on the Hilltop, Santo and the Hawks earned three NCAA Tournament bids while appearing in the 2014 NCAA Division II East Region championship game. He capped his career with 1,487 points (17th all-time), 16.9 points per game (t-10th all-time), and a .588 field goal percentage (3rd all-time).

During his senior season in 2014-15, Santo averaged 21.4 points per game on 62.2% shooting (third all-time, single season) and was named the Northeast-10 Player of the Year and an All-NE10 First Team selection. He was also named to the NABC All-America Team, NABC East All-District First Team and Daktronics All-America Honorable Mention squad. Santo appeared in the NABC Reese’s Division II College All Star Game as well.

A Cherry Hill, New Jersey native, Santo played one season of professional basketball for Falken Cynergi Virtus in Malta, where he won a First Division men’s championship.

Tagged with: