SPRINGFIELD, MA—Tony Bozzella and Brian Giorgis have shaken hands with each other 26 times after a basketball game. The two coaches arrived in the MAAC at the same time, in 2002; Bozzella at Iona and Giorgis at Marist. In the 26 post-game handshakes, four of which came after a MAAC Tournament game, Bozzella has always been the one doing the congratulating, Giorgis the consoling. Marist has won seven consecutive MAAC titles and 28 straight against Iona, with Giorgis owning a personal 26-game win streak against Bozzella. The two—who are, surprisingly, very good friends—will meet again in today’s women’s championship (noon, ESPNU).
You’d think Bozzella would want nothing to do with a guy who has dominated him over his 11-year Iona career, but that couldn’t be less true. Bozzella says Giorgis has been a great friend to him and his family. He considers him a mentor and says Giorgis, who owns an impressive collection of sports memorabilia, has been generous in giving some of his items to Bozzella’s kids.
Continue reading MAAC Womens Final: Can Iona Upset Marist?
Every year, in practically every conference, you’ll hear the phrase “wide open” in reference to the league tournament. Coaches say it out of respect to other teams; the media uses it as a hedge against their predictions; P.R. folks spit it out to generate hype. So bear with me when I tell you that this weekend’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament is wide open.
But if it’s not true this season in this conference, it never will be. “The charm of our team is that we know we can lose to any team,” Joe Mihalich said during Monday’s conference call with the media. Mihalich is the coach of Niagara, the league’s No. 1 seed. Held at the MassMutualCenter, a neutral site in Springfield, Mass., nearly every team has a reasonable shot at the title.
Continue reading 2013 MAAC Basketball Tournament Preview
Stanley Hill looked around the Hynes Athletics Center and smiled. On the visitor’s bench was Fairfield University’s men’s basketball coach Sydney Johnson. At the scorer’s table was Iona College athletics director Eugene Marshall, Jr. Both men are black. The Iona and Fairfield rosters, like so many others, are filled with black student-athletes. Hill, more so than most, notices. A lot has changed since he played college basketball.
Hill, a 1959 Iona graduate, was in New Rochelle last Friday night to accept the inaugural Trailblazer Award, named after him. At halftime of the Feb. 24 Iona-Fairfield game, he spoke about The Game That Never Was and why Iona was a special place.
Continue reading Stanley Hill: College Basketball Trailblazer