Acknowledge the Body of Work: Regular Season Championships
Bert DeSalvo, Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Southern Connecticut State University
The Kansas Jayhawks recently won the Big 12 regular season title with their overtime win on March 3rd against West Virginia. The Jayhawks rallied late to win despite not playing with freshman phenom Cliff Alexander (academics) and , All-Conference and potential Big 12 Player of Year, Perry Ellis (knee).
This regular season title marked the 11th consecutive year that Kansas has won the Big 12 regular season championship. This feat ties Gonzaga’s Big West title runs from 2001-2011 and the Jayhawks eleven in a row are only two titles shy of the legendary UCLA team’s record (1967-1979), featuring Hall of Fame Head Coach John Wooden. In addition, Kansas has won 58 overall conference regular season championships, a record they hold by themselves.
These are truly remarkable accomplishments. This level of consistency itself, not to mention the 2008 National Championship, should vault Bill Self into the ranks of one of the best, if not the best, Kansas coaches of all-time. This is saying quite a bit considering the pedigree of Hall of Fame head coaches. Phog Allen, Larry Brown, Roy Williams and the inventor of the game, Dr. James Naismith, have all led KU basketball during its storied history.
However, in our “what have you done for me lately” society that is concerned with instant gratification and winning championships, the regular season crown has been somewhat diminished.
Take the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA for instance. They are one of the best organizations in all of sports. However, the regular season for them is seen as almost a nuisance as they rest their players, jockey for seeding and ultimately get ready for another NBA Finals run.
Conference championships or the NCAA National Tournament mean the margin for error is small. Winning in a one and done scenario, even at home, is not an easy task. One bad call, missed assignment or an opponent who is having a career day can derail a post-season conference championship or a national championship run.
However, this should not lessen the importance of regular season championships. Regular season championships are not easy to accomplish and these titles show a level of consistency throughout the course of the league schedule. Regular season championships mean that wins are accumulated year after year and that coaching staffs have built a winning culture in their organization.
Basketball fans, supporters and alumni must not get caught up in just the “March Madness” of their team’s season, but rather appreciate the entire college basketball season and realize the daily work that goes into the entire year and not just a few weeks in March.
One game or one week may be exciting, but consistency and long-term winning should be the foundation and starting point of any respected program.
Regular season championships need to be appreciated much more at every level of basketball.
Bert DeSalvo is entering his first full year as head coach of the Southern Connecticut State University women’s basketball program in 2014-2015. DeSalvo brings extensive collegiate coaching experience at the Division I, II and III levels to the Owls’ program.
DeSalvo’s previous head coaching experience includes a successful four year run as head women’s basketball coach at Penn State-Beaver for four seasons. He compiled a 99-26 (.792) record and qualified for the USCAA National Tournament in all four campaigns. The Lady Lions finished as the National runner-up in 2011. He also led the program to an undefeated regular season during that season.
DeSalvo captured the PSUAC Regular Season Championship in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and three consecutive PSUAC Post-Season Conference Titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He received the PSUAC Coach of Year award in 2008 and the Beaver County Hall of Fame Recognition Award as women’s basketball Coach of Year in 2008, 2009 and 2010. DeSalvo also served as the Assistant Director of Athletics and programmed intramural and club sports events and activities.
From PSU-Beaver, DeSalvo served as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Division II Clarion (Pa.), where he was also the recruiting coordinator.
His first collegiate coaching experience was as an assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. He was responsible for all scouting reports and game plans for the Division I program.
DeSalvo then moved on as the lead assistant women’s basketball coach role at Division III MacMurray College, where he handled many duties including academic monitoring, budgeting, scheduling and travel.
His additional coaching experience includes stops as the girls’ varsity head coach at Chariho (RI) High School, junior varsity head coach for boys’ basketball at South Kingstown High School (RI), founder and head coach for the South County Flash girls’ basketball AAU program and the boys’ head coach at Rocky Hill Middle School.
DeSalvo is also the founder of Full Court Consulting, a program that helps record performance and stats for basketball. In this role, he has worked with various Division II, Division III, JUCO and high school coaches around the country. He has also previously worked as a basketball analyst for Krossover software that allows coaches and players to break down plays.
DeSalvo received a bachelor’s of arts from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s of science from Duquesne University, along with additional coursework towards a master’s degree from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.
DeSalvo resides in New Haven with his wife, Becky, and daughter, Amara.
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