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Stony Brook Athletics and Uber announced a partnership Feb. 28. Photo from Uber

Stony Brook University’s athletic department and a popular app have partnered, and students and Seawolves fans will reap the benefits.

On Feb. 28 Stony Brook Athletics and Uber announced a three-year partnership which makes Uber, a location-based car-service app featuring private drivers, the “Official Ride of the Stony Brook Seawolves.”

Robert Emmerich, senior associate director of athletics at SBU, said the university has received positive feedback from students since the partnership was announced. He said no official data has been obtained yet to measure the number of rides being called for every day. He said one of the goals is to offer students and staff members discounts during high travel times in the near future.

“This partnership is beneficial for many reasons and all were considered while working out the details of the agreement,” Emmerich said. “Providing students and staff with a safe and reliable way to explore Long Island is certainly one of the main focuses of this partnership. In addition, we are excited that Uber can offer our fans the convenience to be picked up and dropped off right next to our athletic facilities, so they can enjoy our games with friends and family.”

Another hope of the partnership is to ease traffic during games. “Having Uber as a reliable option to get to and from our home games will certainly help with parking and provide fans the opportunity to be dropped off right next to our facilities,” Emmerich said.

The university is working on pickup and drop-off zones for Seawolves fans, and the locations will be finalized shortly. Currently, the Competition Automotive Gate #2 of LaValle Stadium is the designated pickup and drop-off point during the university’s lacrosse season, according to Emmerich.

“Teaming up with Stony Brook will allow us to provide an improved and convenient Uber experience for those traveling to and from games and around campus,” said Sarfraz Maredia, Uber’s regional general manager for the Northeast United States in a statement. “Together, we will make sure students, fans, alumni and faculty have access to affordable, reliable rides.”

The Stony Brook University Seawolves football team won their homecoming game 38-24 against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. At the Oct. 14 game, Veronica Fox was crowned homecoming queen and PP Pandya was named homecoming king.

Stony Brook softball player Danni Kemp died after a battle with cancer. Photo from SBU

The Stony Brook family is mourning the loss of student-athlete Danni Kemp, who passed away on the morning of March 10 surrounded by family following her battle with cancer.

The Seawolves, who had dedicated their softball season to the sophomore, 19, postponed March 10 games against Santa Clara and New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Danni Kemp up to bat for the Seawolves. Photo from SBU

“Our hearts are heavy today and our love goes out to Danni and her family,” Stony Brook softball coach Megan Bryant said. “In all too short of a young life, Danni touched so many in a beautiful way. She fought so hard against this terrible disease, and showed us what true courage is. May Danni only know peace now.”

In July, Kemp was hit in the head by a pitch while playing in a summer league game. When she began feeling dizzy, had trouble focusing and couldn’t keep her balance, doctors tested her for a concussion. An MRI revealed a cancerous brain tumor.

Due to the location, surgery was not an option, and Kemp began radiation therapy Aug. 29, receiving treatment Monday through Friday for a total of six weeks.

A GoFundMe page was created on behalf of the family Aug. 22, and in six months had raised nearly $130,000 of the $150,000 goal, with donations from 1,575 people.

“Danni is the toughest young woman we have all ever met,” wrote Bradley Taylor, who created the GoFundMe page. “Her strong and indomitable will has already proven to be more than enough to battle and beat a rare kidney disease while she was in high school. This will be a battle, but with so many people who know and love Danni and her family, they’ve got an army behind them.”

Since her death, hundreds more dollars have poured in from those touched by the loss of Kemp, even those who didn’t know her.

“I felt very sad when I read the story,” wrote John Colombo.

Janis Matton was also saddened upon hearing the news.

“I am so very sorry for your loss,” she wrote. “Danni was truly an inspiration to all. Prayers for your family.”

“We got an angel in the outfield behind us. Heavy hearts with a little something more to play for this season.”

—Kevin Kernan

Kemp hit .446 as a junior for J.A. Foran High School in Connecticut en route to All-Conference and first team All-State honors. In her first three seasons at Foran, she collected more than 100 hits and 40 stolen bases. She was also a member of the Connecticut Charmers, an Under-18 fast pitch showcase team coached by Neil Swanchak.

As a Seawolf, she scored her first career hit against Charlotte University Feb. 20 of last year; had a double and scored a run at Florida Atlantic University Feb. 26; had two hits, including a bases-clearing double in a win over Columbia University Feb. 27; walked twice and drove in a run at Manhattan College March 30; drew three walks in another contest; and walked and scored a run at the University of Massachusetts Lowell April 16.

Kemp’s death had an impact that reverberated beyond just her softball family. After news of her death spread around campus, many student-athletes took to social media.

Tiffany Zullo, a midfielder on the women’s lacrosse team from Connetquot High School, tweeted: “We all play for Danni and will forever be Danni Strong. Rest in peace to a beautiful soul.”

Kevin Kernan, a baseball pitcher, posted, “We got an angel in the outfield behind us. Heavy hearts with a little something more to play for this season.”

Details for services will be forthcoming once the Kemp family makes arrangements.

“Danni had her entire life in front of her,” Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron said. “I am devastated beyond words and heartbroken for her family and everyone who loved her. Her valiant fight over the past several months was an inspiration to all of us, and her impact on the Stony Brook Athletics family will be felt for many years to come.”

Stony Brook University women’s soccer team drafted 4-year-old Rylie Laber. Photo from Stony Brook University

Kevin Redding

On July 4, 1939, New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig stood before 60,000 fans at Yankee Stadium and confirmed his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and closed his statements by saying: “I might have had a tough break — but I have an awful lot to live for.”

This sort of display of courage and determination in the face of great affliction is now being echoed by a 4-year-old girl named Rylie Laber, a student at Middle Country’s Bicycle Path Pre-K/Kindergarten Center, who loves to play soccer and takes great joy in learning new things in the classroom.

Those who know her best describe her as energetic, loving, happy, competitive and sassy, with a great laugh. Her spirited personality serves as the ultimate remedy for the rare genetic disorder she’s suffered from since she was 6 months old.

Stony Brook University women's soccer head coach Brendan Faherty places a cap on Rylie’s head after she was drafted. Photo from Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University women’s soccer head coach Brendan Faherty places a cap on Rylie’s head after she was drafted. Photo from Stony Brook University

Called Shwachman Diamond Syndrome, the disorder causes bone marrow failure, pancreatic insufficiency, malabsorption of food and vitamins, and growth difficulties. For most of her life, Rylie’s day-to-day schedule has consisted of countless doctor and hospital appointments, infections, taking medications with every meal, bruising easily, mouth sores, and a lot of dehydration due to fevers. Even two hours of mindless fun at Chuck-E-Cheese when she was only 2 years old led to a miserable three months of being sick with a chronic cold and fever.

But since late August, when she was taken under the wing of SUNY Stony Brook’s women’s soccer team through the Team Impact program, she’s turned over a new leaf and has something to consistently look forward to. In turn, her involvement as an honorary team member has made life better for her family, and the team itself has been impacted greatly by her fun-loving presence.

Rylie’s grandmother Mary Balint, who has full custody, which she shares with Rylie’s father, said that even with her illnesses, Rylie’s always been very cheerful and happy, and that’s only increased tenfold since joining the team.

“She is pushing forward and she absolutely loves her team,” Balint said. “Just last month she had asthmatic bronchitis and every day she was like ‘I’m not letting this stop me. I’m going to practice. I’m going to be with my team, I’m going to do what I have to do,’ so she’s definitely fighting through whatever she needs to fight through to stay with this. She’ll do anything for them. It’s just made her so much stronger.”

Because of how rare Rylie’s illness is, every other year she and Balint journey to Camp Sunshine — which provides retreat and support for kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families in Maine — for a medical conference. This is where Balint first heard about Team Impact, the organization that drafts kids to become members of local college athletic teams.

Initially, as Balint was looking into the program and submitting Rylie’s application, she was told that they generally didn’t start kids until they were 5, but that was until they learned that she had a special interest in soccer — which she’d been playing since she was 3.

Rylie Laber stretches with the Stony Brook University women’s soccer team. Photo from Mary Balint
Rylie Laber stretches with the Stony Brook University women’s soccer team. Photo from Mary Balint

That’s when the organization touched base with Brendan Faherty, Stony Brook’s new head coach of the women’s soccer team, who, along with the student athletes, took to her immediately. Rylie joins the Seawolves in the weight room, goes to practice and games, stretches with them on the sidelines, and kicks the ball. As Balint says, everything they do, she does. According to Faherty, it didn’t take long for Rylie to be herself among her new friends and teammates.

“In the beginning, she was a little bit shy,” he said, “but that lasted about five minutes. She’s super outgoing. She just wants to talk to everybody — goes from one player to the next — and she’s got a great attitude, and really cares about everybody in the program. … We try to spend as much time as we can with her. We went to one of her soccer games and she’s actually really good. She’s super aggressive on the field and she scores a lot of goals and just seems to really love soccer.”

In terms of Rylie’s impact on the students on the team, Stony Brook senior and teammate Lindsay Hutchinson said that Rylie was with them for almost the entire season, and every day the Seawolves spent with her was guaranteed to be a good day. The Stony Brook team even improved upon its record this season with Rylie by their side.

“She just kind of puts everybody in a good mood,” Hutchinson said. “Personally, it gives me a greater appreciation of life, because Rylie just walks around like the happiest child in the world, even though she has a lot of things going on — probably more than we realize. She clung to us right away. Every time she comes to see us, whether it’s at practice or a game, she’ll run right out on the field and give us all hugs.”

For Balint, it was always important that Rylie be kept in the loop as to what was happening with her medically, rather than try to mask it, and said that she knows a lot more about her illness than a 4 year old should. At school, she stays on top of all the medication she needs to take and makes sure that she’s using her own crayon box, to avoid coming in contact with others’ germs, and even a small cold could wipe her out for three weeks straight. Being on the team is Rylie’s incentive to keep herself in tip-top shape, especially since she’s going to be part of the team again next year.

“Sometimes, I sort of use it as a bargaining chip,” Balint said. “If she won’t do something that she has to do, I’ll say to her ‘you think your team would like that?’”

In fact, the team has such an effect on her that she’s even developed a variety of superstitions once it’s game time.

“She has to wear the strings out of her shorts,” Balint said, “and she’s gotta wear her red jersey to school and white jersey to the game. Right before every single game, she runs to the coach with a package of Scooby Doo fruit snacks and he has to eat them. It’s been her little superstitious tradition now.”

Jameel Warney signs partially guaranteed deal with Mavericks

Jameel Warney dunks the ball for Stony Brook University. Photo from SBU

By Desirée Keegan

Jameel Warney’s coaches used to say the player held a basketball like a bowling ball, cupping it with his hand and wrist when driving to the basket. He holds the ball a little differently now. He’s gripping it like an NBA pro.

After competing for the Dallas Mavericks’ 2016 Summer League team from July 2 through July 8, Warney, a 6-foot, 8-inch, 260-pound forward, agreed to a partially guaranteed deal with the team, which amounts to a training camp invite.

“I always have the utmost confidence in myself and know that if I play hard, I can do whatever I think I’m capable of doing,” Warney said. “When I play well and with a chip on my shoulder, I won’t be denied. It was great to know that I can play with this level of competition.”

During five Summer League appearances, he averaged 6.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals and one block per game. Dallas never ran offensive plays designed to get him open, yet Warney still shot 60 percent from the field.

Jameel Warney block a shot for the Seawolves. Photo from SBU
Jameel Warney block a shot for the Seawolves. Photo from SBU

“A lot of hard work went into this and it’s great to get some recognition, but I still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “I was happy that [Dallas] offered to bring me along to training camp, because it’s just another step toward ultimately making my dream come true.”

Although his form may not have been there from the start, the now former Stony Brook University star’s previous head coach, Steve Pikiell, said he’s proud of the player Warney has become. He noted the vast improvement he saw in Warney’s game over the 22-year-old’s four-year tenure with the Seawolves.

“Everyone says great hands, great this, great that, but he’s just a great kid,” Pikiell said. “How he handled himself on and off the court was just awesome. He’s one of the best I’ve worked with in all of my 23 years of coaching.”

Warney began his basketball career as many young players across the country now do; in the Amateur Athletic Union.

“They didn’t think he was going to make it,” his mother Denise Warney said of her son’s coaches. “They said he was very lazy, and he was struggling with the drills and it seemed like something he wasn’t interested in. That all changed in two or three months.”

Warney learned from the experience and established a newfound passion for the sport. Within months, multiple AAU teams were interested in the abnormally tall middle school standout.

From there, Warney joined the varsity basketball team at Roselle Catholic High School in New Jersey. He graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,968 points, and averaged 17 points, 13.5 rebounds, four assists and 3.5 blocks per game as a senior.

“He’s humble and he’s hardworking. I think that’s an unbelievable combination for a kid nowadays.”

— Steve Pikiell

“For Jameel, whether he’s well, sick or tired, he plays really well,” his mother said. “He just loves the sport.”

At Stony Brook, he enjoyed much of the same success.

Warney graduated with more victories than any player in school history, and is the school’s all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks and games played. The Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention also broke Stony Brook records for points in a season and in a single game when he scored 43 against the University of Vermont March 12.

Among all the records, Warney was also named American East Player and Defensive Player of the Year after leading the Seawolves to the American East Championship title and the first NCAA postseason berth in school history. He recorded 23 points and 15 rebounds in the first round of the tournament against the University of Kentucky on March 17, though the team fell 85-57.

“I saw something in him early on and I was able to help him bring that talent and ability out of him,” Pikiell said. “Mix that in with his hard work, and that’s how he’s gotten to the point he’s at. I know he can play at the NBA level. He has a skill set that everyone could use. He has a great motor, he’s a terrific rebounder, he has great hands, he’s a great passer, he has a tremendous physical ability and he’s an unselfish player. He has a great mind for the game of basketball, and those are attributes that bode well for him to be able to continue to play at the next level.”

Jameel Warney carries a net around his neck after the Stony Brook University men's basketball team won the America East championship. Photo from SBU
Jameel Warney carries a net around his neck after the Stony Brook University men’s basketball team won the America East championship. Photo from SBU

For Denise Warney though, it’s more than just her son’s accolades and titles. It’s about how proud she is of how far her son has come not just in the sport, but as a person. When she watches him, she can’t help but smile.

“The game for the NCAA berth, I just watch that game over and over again because it amazes me that he’s turned out to be such a great basketball player,” she said.

She is especially amazing watching him dunk the ball, because for her, it brings back a decade-old memory.

“When he was little, I remember him saying, ‘Mommy, I want a trampoline.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘I want to put it next to the basketball hoop so I can dunk,’” she said. “We laughed about it because now when I see him dunk a ball, I go all the way back to when he was 10 years old. I get this rush watching him, I’m overcome with this emotion, and I just keep becoming prouder and prouder of him.”

Warney and his mother both appreciate those who have helped him reach such heights thus far in his career.

“The years of improving mentally and physically, being mature and proving my stuff on the court with Stony Brook after high school — I’ve learned so much,” he said. “I feel like a lot of the people I’ve come across over my years of playing basketball have influenced my life. My coaches in high school, my mom, college coaches, the rest of my family and my close friends, I’m doing this all for them because they’ve been with me through the struggles and through the highs. I’m happy to have such a nice support system with me.”

He’s influenced the lives of others as well, as young children run around Stony Brook donning his name and number on their jerseys, looking up to the professional athlete who is continuing to put in the work as he climbs his ladder toward his ultimate goal of making a roster.

“He’s humble for a player as talented as he is,” Pikiell said. “He’s humble and he’s hardworking. I think that’s an unbelievable combination for a kid nowadays. That enabled him to get better and help us do things that no Stony Brook team has ever done, I think he can make a team and stay for a long time. I think his best basketball is ahead of him.”

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A scene from Friday’s Stony Brook University commencement ceremony at LaValle Stadium. Photo by Greg Catalano
Students graduating from Stony Brook University this year decorated their caps. Photo by Greg Catalano
Students graduating from Stony Brook University this year decorated their caps. Photo by Greg Catalano

Thousands of degrees were doled out on Friday as Stony Brook University said congratulations to the Seawolves’ class of 2016.

A total of 6,570 graduates made their final march into their futures at LaValle Stadium, marking the university’s 56th commencement ceremony, on May 20. University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. also conferred honorary degrees onto Eric H. Holder Jr., the 82nd attorney general of the United States, and Soledad O’Brien, an American broadcast journalist.

The university granted honorary degrees to Eric Holder and Soledad O’Brien (pictured with SBU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.). Photo by Greg Catalano
The university granted honorary degrees to Eric Holder and Soledad O’Brien (pictured with SBU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.). Photo by Greg Catalano

“This is a remarkable distinction for the class of 2016, to be joined by individuals who personify what Stony Brook embraces — the relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to make a real difference,” Stanley said. “Eric Holder embodies the progress and values of our country through his strong leadership and legacy of justice and fortitude. Soledad O’Brien exemplifies the vision of our university as she is actively engaged in the critical issues of our time — initiating and exploring important national conversations.”

Graduates represented 41 states and 67 countries, and students ranged in age from 20 to 73 years old.

Students and their families packed out the stadium on Friday as the sun shone on them. Various elected officials and university administrators were also in attendance.

A scene from Friday’s Stony Brook University commencement ceremony at LaValle Stadium. Photo by Greg Catalano
A scene from Friday’s Stony Brook University commencement ceremony at LaValle Stadium. Photo by Greg Catalano

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Members of the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team hold up four fingers to signify the four straight America East championships the team has won. Photo from SBU

Freshman Kasey Mitchell scored a free-position goal as time expired to lift the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team to a 10-9 victory over the University at Albany and its fourth-consecutive America East championship Sunday afternoon at LaValle Stadium. With the win — the 14th-straight for Stony Brook — the Seawolves improve to 16-3, while the Great Danes drop to 11-6.

Courtney Murphy scored four goals on the afternoon to give her 95 on the year, three back of the Division I single-season record set in 1984. Junior Dorrien Van Dyke added four goals and an assist, while sophomore Kylie Ohlmiller chipped in a goal and three assists.
Murphy was named championship Most Outstanding Player and was joined by Mitchell, Van Dyke and sophomore Samantha DiSalvo on the all-championship team.

Kasey Mitchell attempts a shot at the cage for Stony Brook. Photo from SBU
Kasey Mitchell attempts a shot at the cage for Stony Brook. Photo from SBU

The Seawolves trailed 9-8 with 90 seconds remaining before junior Courtney Murphy tied the game with 1:23 to play. Senior Alyssa Fleming caused an Albany turnover with 39 seconds to go, and following a Stony Brook timeout, Mitchell won it at the buzzer.

Junior Kristin Yevoli tallied five draw controls and freshman Keri McCarthy added four. Freshman Anna Tesoriero made five saves between the pipes.

Fleming had two caused turnovers, including the crucial one in the final minute, along with a ground ball.

Stony Brook improves to 4-1 all-time in America East Championship finals.
The Seawolves allowed more than seven goals in a game for just the third time this season.
However, Stony Brook is 2-1 in those games.

Stony Brook improves to 48-5 at LaValle Stadium since 2012. Associate head coach Caitlin Defliese captured her eighth career America East title Sunday. Defliese has won the last four conference championships as part of the Stony Brook staff and won four straight as a player at Boston University from 2007-10. Murphy broke the America East record for goals in a single season with her first tally of the day, passing the mark of 91 set by Defliese’s Boston University teammate, Sarah Dalton.

The women’s team will open the NCAA Championship in Massachusetts, with a game at Boston College on May 13 at a time to be announced.

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Victor Ochi, right, races toward the quarterback in a game for Stony Brook last season. File photo from SBU

Victor Ochi realized his dream on Saturday evening when the senior member of the 2015 Stony Brook University football team signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League.

If he makes the team, Ochi would join former Seawolves teammate Will Tye as an active player in the NFL. Tye, the first SBU graduate to play on the big field, earned NFL All-Rookie honors as a tight end on the New York Giants roster in 2015 after making the squad as an undrafted free agent.

Ochi, a 2015 All-America selection and the Colonial Athletic Association co-Defensive Player of the Year, led the nation with 13 sacks through the regular season and was top in the CAA with 16.5 tackles for a loss. For the 2015 season, the Valley Stream native recorded 47 tackles in the Seawolves’ 10 games, including his 13 sacks — the second most in a single season in the program’s history. He also had four games with at least two sacks, including 3.5 against the University of New Hampshire.

During the 2015 season, Ochi became Stony Brook’s career leader in both sacks and tackles for loss. He collected 32.5 sacks and 49 tackles for a loss in four seasons.

In addition, he made a splash at the 2016 East-West Shrine game in January and turned some NFL scouts’ heads after being invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February.

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Dana Husband leaps over the high-jump bar. Photo from SBU

Junior Dana Husband broke a 27-year-old outdoor program record in the women’s high jump as the Stony Brook track and field teams swept the Wolfie Invitational Saturday.

Husband cleared 5-8/1.73 meters to surpass the mark of 5-8/1.68 set by Sara Lechner in 1989. Her jump also achieved the ECAC standard in the event. Husband broke the indoor record earlier in 2016 at 5-8/1.70.

Sophomore Kaylyn Gordon also recorded an ECAC standard, as she won the women’s triple jump at 39-10.5/12.15. Gordon also finished second in the long jump with a mark of 17-11.0/5.46.

The Seawolves took the women’s team title with 226 points, 86 points ahead of second-place Quinnipiac University. The men’s squad finished first with 199 points, 62 clear of second-place Sacred Heart University.

“We asked everyone to come with a competitive attitude to this meet, and for the most part that is what we got,” Stony Brook head coach Andy Ronan said. “Overall, on a decent weather day, we got a lot done individually and team wise.”

Senior Kate Pouder won the women’s 1,500 in 4 minutes, 34.97 seconds, and sophomore Jane Clark captured the women’s 800 in 2:13.69.

“Dana’s and Kaylyn’s performances were backed up by good runs from Kate Pouder and Jane Clark,” Ronan said.

Senior Gabe Vazquez won the men’s 1,500 in 4:00.12, and sophomore Michael Watts took the men’s 3,000 in 8:38.97.

The quartet of Gordon and freshmen Sarah Militano, Chinque Thompson and Nikki Fogarty won the women’s 4×100 relay in 47.36 seconds.

Thompson (25.15) and freshman Nailah Jones  (25.19) grabbed the top two spots in the women’s 200.

Seniors Raven Dorsey  (18:01.99) and Tara Peck (18:11.87) took the top two spots in the women’s 5,000.

The Seawolves took the top five spots in the women’s 100, led by Thompson (12.04), Fogarty (12.31),  Gordon (12.33) and freshman McKyla Brooks (12.33). Brooks (18-10.0/5.74), Gordon (17-11.0/5.46) and Jones (17-10.25/5.44) took the top three spots in the women’s long jump.

Senior Mitchell Kun and sophomore Dan Galford finished first and second in the men’s 5,000, respectively. Kun won the event in 15:05.84, with Galford behind at 15:19.58. Freshman Wayne Williams won the  400 in 49.25. Sophomore Darian Sorouri took the 3,000 steeplechase in 9:52.96.

The Seawolves captured the top three spots in the men’s triple jump, with freshman Izzy Matthew at 43-3.0/13.18, freshman Bradley Pierre at 42-11.75/13.10 and freshman Brendon Alerte at 41-11.50/12.79.

Freshman Yanik Martin won the men’s long jump with a leap of 21-11.75/6.70, while Pierre took third with 21-1.50/6.44.

The Seawolves are Philadelphia through Saturday for the Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Jeff Boals joins the Seawolves after spending seven seasons as an assistant at Ohio State

Jeff Boals coaches the Ohio State University men's basketball team from the sideline. Photo from Ohio State University

Jeff Boals, who spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State University, has been named the head men’s basketball coach at Stony Brook University.

“[I am] extremely excited to become a part of the Stony Brook community and university,” Boals said. “[I am] grateful for the opportunity that Dr. Stanley and Shawn Heilbron have given me and I look forward to working with the team, building upon the success of last season and continuing it into the future. I can’t wait to get started.”

That success last season was Stony Brook’s first Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship appearance, after an 80-74 victory over the University of Vermont in the America East Championship. With the win, the Seawolves earned their 26th single-season victory — a new Division I program record for the Seawolves. The No. 13 Stony Brook team played No. 4 University of Kentucky in the NCAA tournament’s opening Round of 64 but fell, 85-57.

Jeff Boals, on right, cheers on the Ohio State University men’s basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics
Jeff Boals, on right, cheers on the Ohio State University men’s basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics

Boals will be officially introduced as the 11th head coach in the program’s history to the Stony Brook community at a press conference on Monday, April 11, in Island Federal Credit Union Arena.

“Jeff Boals will be a great addition to the Stony Brook community,” the Boston Celtics’ player Evan Turner said. “His commitment, passion and knowledge of the game is second to none. I’m excited to see the rise of the Stony Brook basketball program.”

A member of Thad Matta’s staff since 2009, Boals helped guide Ohio State to seven postseason appearances, including six NCAA Tournaments. The Buckeyes, who won or claimed a share of three Big 10 titles, advanced to the Final Four in 2012. Ohio went 193-62 during Boals’ time in Columbus.

“Jeff has done a remarkable job at The Ohio State University in his seven years as a Buckeye — he is certainly ready to be a head coach and has an amazing opportunity at such a fine institution,” Matta said. “Jeff has a great basketball mind and will bring energy and enthusiasm to the great situation that Stony Brook University offers.”

Boals was instrumental in bringing some of the top players in the nation to Ohio State, including current NBA stars Jared Sullinger and D’Angelo Russell, along with Aaron Craft, the all-time steals and assist leader in Ohio State history. He also coached Turner, the 2010 National Player of the Year, during his collegiate career with the Buckeyes.

“My focus during this search was to find the right person who could lead Stony Brook men’s basketball to new heights, and Jeff Boals is the right guy at the right time,” Heilbron said. “He is prepared for this opportunity, which comes at a critical time in our history following our first America East title and NCAA Tournament appearance.”

Jeff Boals, who was formerly an assistant coach at Ohio State University, will replace Steve Pikiell at the helm of the Stony Brook men's basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics
Jeff Boals, who was formerly an assistant coach at Ohio State University, will replace Steve Pikiell at the helm of the Stony Brook men’s basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics

Prior to Ohio State, Boals spent three seasons at the University of Akron, as the team’s recruiting coordinator while working with players. The Zips advanced to three Mid-American Conference championship games, winning the title in 2009. It was Akron’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 1986.

“The first thing about Jeff is that he’s won everywhere he’s been,” said Keith Dambrot, Akron’s men’s basketball coach. “I like to think of Jeff as a diversified coach. He’s a terrific recruiter, understands in-game strategy and is relentless.”

Boals also recruited Anthony “Humpty” Hitchens, an All-freshman performer, and Zeke Marshall, a national recruit.

“Jeff has coached at the highest level as a member of Thad Matta’s staff at Ohio State and he understands what it takes to win,” Heilbron said. “I am excited for our players to learn from him on the floor and, more importantly, he will serve as a strong mentor to our student-athletes in all areas of their lives outside of basketball.”

Boals spent two seasons (2004-06) at Robert Morris University and four years (1999-2003) at Marshall University. In his final season at Robert Morris, the Colonials posted their first winning record in 15 seasons. He also spent a total of four seasons at Division II University of Charleston in two different stints.

A 1995 graduate of Ohio University, Boals was a two-time captain and four-year letterwinner for the Bobcats, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1994. The following year, Ohio University won the Preseason NIT Championship after wins over Ohio State and No. 14 Virginia, as well as George Washington and New Mexico State, at Madison Square Garden.

“Knowing that he is pursuing his dreams to be a head coach is big time,” Los Angeles Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell said. “He has always been super supportive and a major mentor to me and my family throughout my process. P.S. [I] just became a Stony Brook fan.”

—Stony Brook Athletics

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