Women’s basketball success starts with coaching

Photo by RMU Athletics

By Jonathan Fisher, Staff Writer

For the Robert Morris women’s basketball team, success was never the norm around the locker campus. In the two previous seasons before head coach, Sal Buscaglia arrived, the Colonials went 1-17 in the Northeast Conference and 1-25 overall, and a record 2-15, 3-24 the following year.

Things started to shift after Buscaglia came to the team and rejuvenated the squad. Buscaglia coached Robert Morris to a 12-5 conference record and 20-10 overall record in his first season

The average fan can tell there was a definite difference in play just by looking at the record. Not to mention Buscaglia found success wherever he stepped foot in.

Before Colonial basketball, he coached at Hilbert Junior College. There he led the team to 93 straight league wins, eight straight tournament titles, eight straight national tournament championships and a 249-62 record. In the 1988-1989 season, he took Hilbert to the Elite 8.

Preceding that, Buscaglia coached at Buffalo University. He completed five 20-win season in eight total. After Buffalo, head coach Buscaglia got hired at Manhattan and led the Lady Jaspers to a 79-65 record. In only his second season, Buscaglia took them to a 17-win season, making that Manhattan’s fifth-highest season total in history.

“I think it’s more important to focus on the process,” said Buscaglia. “If you focus on the process and the journey, I think the end result will be highly likely yours.”

Since Buscaglia came to Robert Morris, the Colonials have posted six winning season and three Northeast Conference championships.

In the 2009-2010 season, his Robert Morris squad set team records for regular season wins with 22 and conference victories with 17, while leading the team to its first outright NEC Regular Season Championship and an eventual postseason WNIT Tournament. The appearance marked the fourth consecutive season RMU played in a national tournament.

Buscaglia has tough competition coaching in the city of Pittsburgh. In the area, the Pittsburgh Panthers are always competitive and the Duquesne Dukes were one of the best in the Atlantic 10 conference last year according to goduquesne.com.

The Colonials placed third in the Northeast conference last year and are starting to be talked about with the Panthers and Dukes when it comes to success.

Buscaglia commented on their credibility by saying, “Third place to us is not succeeding.  I feel that we are at the level of a Pitt and Duquesne.”

When fans talk about basketball teams around the area, instead of mentioning Pitt and Duquesne, Buscaglia’s success will make them start to mention the Colonials.