Great Barrington's Brian Wilson joins Quinnipiac women's basketball coaching staff
Brian Wilson said it wasn't about returning to Division I basketball. It was about going to Quinnipiac.
The Great Barrington native gave up his head coaching job at Division III Connecticut College to join Tricia Fabbri's staff because it was Fabbri and Quinnipiac.
"It's never been a professional goal to get back to Division I," said Wilson, who took the Conn. College job after spending six years as an assistant to Holy Cross women's coach Bill Gibbons Jr.
"I left Division I to coach at Connecticut College. [Wife] Katie and I talked about it and said we're going to keep our eyes open for opportunities that might come our way," he said. "This is just an incredible opportunity for our family on several levels.
"It was never about going back to Division I or continue to climb the proverbial ladder."
Quinnipiac announced the hiring on May 22. He was offered the job the week before and accepted.
Wilson joins the Fabbri's staff replacing Mountain MacGillivray. MacGillivray left Quinnipiac to take over as head coach at D-I LaSalle University in his native Philadelphia. He spent nine years at Quinnipiac, the last three as associate head coach.
Ironically, Wilson came to Conn. College the same time MacGillivray came to Quinnipiac.
"Brian brings a wealth of experience at two outstanding institutions," Fabbri said in a statement. "He is an outstanding coach with a proven track record. I've known him for many years and expect him to help us continue the winning tradition and attract outstanding student-athletes to Quinnipiac University."
Wilson, who was a coaching intern in 2000 with both the Williams College men's and women's basketball team, moved to Conn. College after his six years at Holy Cross.
It took him three years to get a winning record, as the Camels went 16-7 in the 2011-12 season. That was Conn's first winning season in 15 years. Wilson guided the Camels to five consecutive NESCAC tournament berths, the most recent coming last year. Last winter, the Camels were the sixth seed in the tournament and lost to Tufts in the quarterfinal round.
Wilson also coached the only two Conn. College players to be named All-NESCAC. Forward Mairead Hynes was a three-time member of the second team, and guard Liz Malman was a one-time second-teamer.
In nine years, he was 121-96.
The new Quinnipiac assistant will be joining a head coach that has won 407 career games. The Bobcats, who were 28-6 last year, went to the NCAA Division I Tournament for the second consecutive season in 2017-18. They won a first-round game before falling to UConn in a No. 1 vs. No. 9 matchup
"Coach Fabbri's been here a long time and she's been uber successful," Wilson said. "The program is in really a competitive place right now. The university is on fire and is growing. The resources are unmatched for a mid-major program."
It's not like Wilson is leaving the cupboard bare at Connecticut College. He said that the school has five players coming in next fall, who can contribute. The Camels graduated one senior. But in Hynes, that's a huge hole to fill.
It wasn't hard to decide on taking the job, Wilson said. What was hard, however, was telling the returning players.
"Without a doubt. Telling the team was really emotional, as you could imagine," he said. "And not seeing my colleagues. A lot of them, I worked really closely with for nine years. I'm going to miss them dearly."
It'll be a little bit of a homecoming for Wilson, where he'll run into grade school and high school friend, and former co-worker at Holy Cross Anna Kinne. Kinne, who is married to Quinnipiac head strength and conditioning coach Brijesh Patel, was also a Holy Cross teammate of Wilson's wife Kathy.
"We've been really, really happy at Connecticut College," Wilson said. "We loved every minute here. Nine years were really great. But this is an incredible opportunity for us.
"It checked a ton of boxes, professionally and personally, for our lives and it just made a lot of sense."
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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