For the first time at the Division I level Sacred Heart University has a new basketball coach.
Dave Bike passed the job on to longtime assistant Anthony Latina during an emotional press conference Thursday morning on campus at the McMahon Center. Bike retires after 35 seasons with the Pioneers, compiling a 530-498 record at the D-I and D-II levels. He also won a D-II national championship in 1986.
"I'm glad it's over," joked Bike, who was brought to tears while announcing his retirement and thanking his family, friends and colleagues over the years. "I'm glad the press conference is over I mean. The retirement situation, I know I will miss it."
Bike will continue on in a part time role at the school starting in August working with the finance department.
Latina has been with the program for the past eight years on Bike's staff. He had a deal in place with the school to replace Bike when he retired. Latina has previously served as an assistant coach at Central Connecticut State and UMass-Lowell. This will be his first head coaching job.
Latina will become only the third coach at the varsity level at SHU.
The Pioneers missed the postseason for the third time in for four years, falling to St. Francis, N.Y. in the season finale. Bike's final record at SHU is 529-499, with the bulk of it coming at the NCAA Division II level, where he guided the Pioneers to a national title in 1986.
SHU moved up to D-I in 1999 and the Pioneers twice lost in the Northeast Conference championship game under Bike's watch. Bike ranked 20th among active coaches in wins and only Jim Boeheim of Syracuse has been at one institution longer.
At the D-II level, Sacred Heart captured five NCAA Regional championships and four New England Collegiate Conference titles. In the 1980s, the Pioneers played in seven straight regional championship games while compiling a record of 173-51.
Growing up in Bridgeport, Bike was an outstanding athlete and star in basketball and baseball at Notre Dame High School. He would spend eight seasons catching the Detroit Tigers' farm system (1965-72) before going to college at SHU to become a teacher and coach. In 1978 he would return to SHU to coach under J. Donald Feeley before taking over the program four years later.
Bike is expected to continue working at the school after his retirement in the financial department.
Latina, who was also an assistant at Central Connecticut State and D-II UMass-Lowell, has never been the head coach. Jim Barquinero, the senior vice president for Athletics and Student Affairs, said Latina will operate on a year-to-year basis, which is the same as the rest of the school's 30 D-I coaches since SHU does not give out contracts.
Latina is expected to retain assistant coaches Johnny Kidd and Kevin Papacs, and might add a third assistant.
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