May 30, 2013, 3:43 PM EDT
In 35 seasons as head coach at Sacred Heart University, Dave Bike racked up a list of accomplishments that any coach would be proud to claim. More than 500 victories, a Division II national title in 1986 and a transition to the Division I level that was completed in 1999.
The Pioneers may not have been able to get over the NCAA tournament hump under Bike’s watch at the Division I level, leading the Pioneers to two NEC tournament title game appearances, but that will not overshadow Bike’s overall body of work.
At the end of the 2012-13 season Bike decided that it was time to hang up his whistle, and on Thursday afternoon Sacred Heart officially announced Bike’s retirement and the hiring of Anthony Latina as his replacement.
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While this was an emotional day for all involved with Sacred Heart athletics, it was also one in which many gave thanks to Bike for his impact on the school.
“No one would debate that Dave Bike is the face of the institution in the athletic sense,” said Sacred Heart Executive Director of Athletics C. Donald Cook. “He’s been the pillar and standard for the intercollegiate athletics program since 1978 when he assumed the role of men’s basketball coach.
“While he’s accomplished much on the basketball court, and has garnered more honors and awards than he can count, his legacy is not just about sport. It’s been about the impact he has had on the lives of hundreds of young men who had the privilege of playing for him. Dave’s unconditional love for his players, and commitment to helping them become responsible adults, is his real legacy.”
With Bike moving into a part-time role in the school’s finance department, the question now is how quickly Latina can get the Pioneers headed in the right direction. Sacred Heart finished the 2012-13 season on a seven-game losing streak, missing out on postseason play for the third time in the last four seasons.
And with leading scorer Shane Gibson (21.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg) out of eligibility, Latina will need to rely on Luis Montes (14.4, 6.2) and Steve Glowiak (10.4, 3.0) in his first season as a head coach after stints as an assistant at Central Connecticut State and UMass-Lowell.
“I am very excited and appreciative for this opportunity. I know what a special place Sacred Heart University is and I hope that our program will represent this great university in the manner in which it deserves,” Latina said during the press conference.
“We will do everything possible to ensure our student-athletes have a first-class experience and reach their potential both on and off the court.”
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
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