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Decision Time: A Look At The Finalists For Siena’s Next Head Coach

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With the final two out of three on-campus interviews being completed on Monday, a decision on the selection of the head coach which will shape the future of Siena College basketball is likely to come at any time. Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole, Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos and VCU associate head coach Mike Rhoades each bring a distinct resume to the table. Here is a look at the three finalists.

Andy Toole has just completed his third season as head coach at Robert Morris where he has compiled a record of 67-35. The youngest of the three candidates, at age 32 Toole has been a part of a very successful Robert Morris program in the NEC over the last six seasons. As an assistant to Mike Rice, Toole helped lead RMU to an NIT appearance in 2008 and as associate head coach to back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2009 and 2010. When Rice left to go to Rutgers, Toole took over as the youngest Division 1 head coach in the nation at the age of 29.

In his first season as the helm, the Colonials advanced to the 2010 NEC Tournament Finals finishing with a record of 18-14. In year two they returned to the NEC title game and earned a post season berth in the 2011 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals with road wins over Indiana State and Toledo finishing with a record of 26-11. This season Toole led RMU to a 24-11 record earning a trip to the NIT where they upset national power house Kentucky in a signature win which has elevated Toole’s profile as an up and coming coach to new heights.

Prior to coming to Robert Morris, Toole spent the 2006-07 season as an assistant at Lafayette College after spending two years with Hoop Group. As a player, he was a four-year starter at the Division I level, playing for Elon University (1998-2000) before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania (2000-03) where he earned a BA in Political Science.

Jimmy Patsos is the most experienced and certainly the most colorful of the three candidates. At age 46 he has just completed his 9th season as head coach of Loyola where he holds a record of 145-135. After taking over a team which won just 1 game in the season before his arrival, Patsos has made the Loyola program successful and relevant in the Baltimore/D.C. area. After winning the MAAC Tournament Championship in 2012, the Greyhounds finished this season with a record of 23-12 after advancing to the quarterfinals of the CIT.

Prior to Loyola, Patsos served as an assistant coach to Gary Williams at the University of Maryland for 13 seasons where he helped guide the Terrapins to 11 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including seven Sweet Sixteen appearances, consecutive trips to the Final Four (2001 and 2002) and the 2002 NCAA National Championship. Thirteen players who Patsos coached were drafted into the NBA, including six who were picked in the first round with four of those chosen as lottery picks, Walt Williams (1992), Joe Smith (1995), Steve Francis (1999) and Chris Wilcox (2002). Keith Booth (1997) and Juan Dixon (2002) were the other first rounders. Prior to Maryland, Patsos was an assistant coach at Archbishop Carroll H.S. one of the nation’s top teams.

A native of Boston, Patsos earned his Bachelor’s degree in history from Catholic University where he was a three-year varsity letter winner. Known for his sideline antics and comical post game remarks, Patsos has a knack for winning over his players, fans, and program supporters. With Loyola’s upcoming move to the Patriot League, he is looking to make a move to Siena and the Albany area which he has always expressed an affinity towards.

Mike Rhoades just finished his fourth season at VCU where he serves as associate head coach to head coach Shaka Smart. He has helped lead a team which has won 111 games over the last four seasons after finishing this year 27-9. The Rams are coming off a stretch of three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances beginning with an amazing Final Four run in 2011.

“Mike’s intense and he has a toughness about him that belies his kind and caring personality,” describes Smart. “He has an intensity on the floor that in some ways reminds me of Billy Donovan’s. I really value that, because let’s face it, if we want our players to be intense and competitive and tough, then we have to be that way too.”

Prior to his arrival at VCU , Rhoades served as assistant coach at DIII Randolph-Macon for three years before taking over as head coach at the age of 25. He led that program from 1999-2009 compiling a record of 197-76, making four NCAA appearances including a Sweet 16 run in 2003, a season in which the Yellow Jackets were ranked number 1 in the nation for several weeks.

As a player, Rhoades led Lebanon Valley College to league titles, conference championships and the 1994 NCAA Division III National Championship. He was a four-time conference all-star, two-time Region Player of the Year, MVP of the 1994 National Championship, First-Team All-American and a National Player of the Year. He graduated in 1995 with a degree in history.

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