Head coach Beryl Piper has had a successful first five seasons at the helm of the Central Connecticut women's basketball program and on Wednesday night she will be honored as an inductee to the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
"I am humbled and honored to have been selected to the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame," Piper said. "It is a special feeling to be joining a group of women who have done so much for this sport."
A Connecticut native, Piper was a three sport star at Trumbull High School before enrolling at CCSU.
At Central, Piper became a captain of the women's basketball team and helped lead the squad to a 24-4 record during her senior season. That year the Blue Devils reached the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals and the 24 wins are still the most in a season for a Blue Devil women's basketball team. At the conclusion of her senior year, Piper was honored with the Gail Rutz Award as CCSU's Most Outstanding Female Athlete and she also received the Rebecca McCord Award for Athletic and Academic Excellence.
Following her collegiate career, Piper played professionally in Ireland for Team Blarney. She helped her team win the Irish National Championship before returning to Connecticut to begin her coaching career.
Piper worked as an assistant coach at Northwest Catholic High School beginning in 1987 and in 1989 she began coaching AAU basketball. Piper led her mid-90's (1994-96) AAU squads to three straight finishes among the National Top-16, with a best finish of 7th in 1995.
In 1988, Piper became head coach at New Britain High School and despite a 0-20 record her first season she quickly molded the Hurricanes into a state power. Piper's teams won nine conference championships and three state championships. Over her 19 seasons at New Britain, she posted a 293-147 won-loss record. In four of those years her teams completed the regular season undefeated ('98, '01, '03, '06).
Piper completed her high school coaching career in 2007. That year she was named Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, presented with the Merit Award by the CIAC Girls Basketball Committee and honored as Connecticut Sports Writer's Alliance Doc McInerney Coach of the Year in a female sport.
In 2007, she returned to her alma mater as head women's basketball coach. In five seasons at the helm, Piper has led the Blue Devils to three Northeast Conference Semifinal appearances and the programs first ever birth in a national postseason tournament, the 2009 Women's National Invitational Tournament.
After a 4-25 record her first season, Piper led Central to an 18-14 mark during the 2008-09 season. An improvement which earned the distinction of being the "best turnaround in the NCAA." Since then, the Blue Devils have posted double-digit victories each season and have become a yearly contender in the NEC. Over the last four seasons Central has won 62 games, the best four-year stretch in program history.
Piper joins her collegiate coach, Dr. Brenda Reilly, in the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Dr. Reilly was a founding member of the hall of fame and the hall of fame's photo gallery, which resides in Kaiser Hall on the CCSU Campus, is also named in her honor.
In addition, Piper's athletic and coaching ability has earned her a place in the Trumbull High School, New Britain Sports and Central Connecticut Athletics Halls of Fame.