Sanicola named Head Basketball Coach at Southern Maine

University of Southern Maine Director of Athletics Al Bean has announced the hiring of Robert Sanicola as the 16th head men’s basketball coach in Huskies’ program history. Sanicola takes over the Huskies, replacing former coach Karl Henrikson ’79 who retired this July.

“We are very excited to welcome Rob Sanicola to our staff as our next men’s basketball coach.  Rob brings a wealth of basketball experience as a head coach at the college level, as a clinician and as a camp director.  He is an innovator on the court in his approach to the game and is a continual student of basketball, always striving to get better and improve the way the game is taught,” noted Bean.  “In addition to his basketball prowess, Rob brings significant administrative skill to the table and has the ability to help provide greater support to our entire department.  I’m very pleased that Rob is a joining our team; first and foremost, he is absolutely a first-rate human being. He is a true professional and cares deeply about students.  He shares the values that are the foundation of our department and I’m confident that he will be successful in all phases of his work and will be an outstanding role model and mentor for our student-athletes.”

No stranger to Division III men’s basketball in the State of Maine, Sanicola comes to Gorham from nearby St. Joseph’s College (Maine) where he has led the Monks since 2003, earning Coach of the Year honors seven times during his tenure. In his 18 seasons in Windham, Sanicola has led SJC to a record of 275-190, a mark of 140-78 (.642) in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) competition and has guided his teams into the GNAC postseason each season (2008-2020).

Providing strong leadership and interest in the personal, academic, and athletic progression of his student-athletes, Sanicola has developed 46 GNAC All-Academic Team members, 25 All-GNAC picks, including nine first team selections, and produced 18 Maine Men’s Basketball Coaches and Writers Association (MMBCWA) All-State honorees.  Fourteen of Sanicola’s student-athletes have met or surpassed the 1000-point milestone.  In recent history, Sanicola has coached the 2020 GNAC Player of the Year, and 2020 State of Maine Player of the Year, and he helped develop a 2021 First Team All-American.

“I’m excited to get to work and for this new opportunity, and I am looking forward to immersing myself into the University of Southern Maine community,” said Sanicola.  “I’m eager to get started, to get to know the team, and to begin establishing the long and short-term goals necessary for Huskies men’s basketball to fulfill its potential. The University of Southern Maine and this Athletic Department has a proud tradition of success on-and-off of the field of competition.  In addition to their athletic achievements, Husky student-athletes graduate from Southern Maine prepared to lead and become vital members of their communities.  As head coach of the men’s basketball program, I welcome being part of that journey.  I would like to thank University President Glenn Cummings, Vice President Jared Cash, Al Bean and the rest of the search committee for their confidence. I also cannot thank St. Joseph’s College enough because I would not be here without the players, alumni and former athletic department staff.  The past 24 years at St. Joseph’s have been extremely rewarding.”

Prior to his role as head coach at SJC, Sanicola served as the program’s assistant coach from 1999-2003.  While on the bench as an assistant, Sanicola was part of a staff that combined for a record of 69-37 over four seasons, which included three appearances in the Maine Athletic Conference Championship game, and a berth into the NAIA Division II National Championship in 2002.  Sanicola was instrumental in the recruiting process of two NAIA Division II All-Americans, and one conference Player of the Year.

Administratively, Sanicola has held the position of Associate Athletic Director, Assistant Athletic Director and Coordinator for Intercollegiate Athletics. In these roles, Sanicola has provided oversight, leadership, and director support in the strategic management of an intercollegiate athletics program.  A designee of the Maine Student Athletes of Color (SAOC), Sanicola recently participated in the 2021 NCAA Inclusion Forum, and has been an active member in SJC’s Justice, Equity, Diversity Inclusion Committee. 

A 1999 graduate of St. Joseph’s College (Maine), Sanicola was a four-year member of the Monks’ men’s basketball team.  Serving as the team captain in his senior season, he helped his team to a school-record 26 wins during the 1998-99 season and a berth into the national tournament.  He resides in Windham with his wife Audrey and his two children.

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