By Tomas Wright
On the afternoon of February 11, 2018, The Bryant Bulldogs basketball head coach Tim O’Shea announced his retirement beginning at the end of the 2017-2018 season.
In 2008, O’Shea was named the head coach of the Bryant University men’s basketball team where he would take on the challenge of leading one of the best basketball programs in Division 2, and transition into the highly competitive Division 1.
Prior to his tenure at Bryant, O’Shea was a former Boston College basketball player who graduated in 1984. He was an assistant coach for a combination of fifteen years at his alma mater, Yale, and the University of Rhode Island. In 2001, he earned his first head coaching job at the University of Ohio where he won a total of 120 games and in 2005 his team won the MAC conference, giving them an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. From 2004-2008, O’Shea was no stranger to success, having four straight winning seasons, each with 19+ wins. During his successful tenure in Athens, O’Shea’s Bobcats defeated some of college basketball’s top programs including Virginia, University of Maryland, North Carolina, Butler, and DePaul.
Coach O’Shea exceeded all expectations at the University of Ohio, becoming the fifth winningest coach in program history. However, New England was home and, “O’Shea explained he always hoped to live full-time in nearby Newport, R.I., to be closer to his elderly parents and provide his young daughter with better educational opportunities. He was also ready for the challenge of helping one of the best Division 2 programs in the nation adjust to Division 1.” said journalist Tim Casey.
After winning a combination of only 11 games in his first three seasons, the 2012-2013 team made NCAA history by having one of the best turnarounds in terms of wins when they added 17 more victories from their previous season. They recorded an impressive 19-12 record, and made their presence felt amongst its northeast conference opponents. From 2012-2015, O’Shea led the bulldogs to three straight trips to the NEC tournament and they received an invitation to play in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). In the process of turning around the new program, O’Shea has brought national attention to the men’s basketball team, by leading them in big wins over established programs such as Boston College, Denver, Robert Morris, LIU Brooklyn and Lehigh.
“We are so grateful for the leadership Coach O’Shea has provided for our men’s basketball program,” said Director of Athletics Bill Smith. “From the moment he stepped foot on campus, he had a clear vision for what it would take for our basketball program to be successful competing at the Division I level. In the six years we have been eligible for Division I, Coach O’Shea led us to four NEC Tournament appearances, including three top-four finishes. On behalf of our entire athletic department, I want to thank Coach O’Shea for his commitment to leading the basketball program into the Division I era and wish him the very best in his retirement.”
Coach O’Shea has done an impeccable job with leading a group of young men on and off the court for the past ten years at Bryant University. His coaching experience has been vital in helping this young basketball program transition from a being a Division 1 newcomer to becoming a force to reckon with in the NEC.