Head coach Beryl Piper has agreed to a five-year contract extension to remain at the helm of the Central Connecticut women's basketball program through the 2016-17 season. Piper, who is entering her sixth season coaching at her alma mater, has led the Blue Devils to three Northeast Conference Tournament Semifinals.
"I am pleased to offer Coach Piper this contract extension. Our women's basketball program has made significant progress in the past five seasons under her leadership," Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann said. "Beryl Piper is a talented coach, an excellent teacher and a wonderful mentor to our student-athletes. She is a great ambassador for Central and a valuable asset to our athletics program. Ultimately, our goal is to compete regularly for the Northeast Conference Championship. Coach Piper and I share those high expectations for our women's basketball program. I look forward to working with Piper, her staff and our student-athletes to achieve that level of success."
Over her first five seasons with the Blue Devils, Piper has compiled a record of 66-84 and 41-49 in NEC play. After a disappointing first season, Piper has led her squad to a 62-59 record and a 38-34 mark in NEC contests. The 62 wins are the most over any four-year stretch in the program's history.
The 2008-09 team won 18 games, the best turnaround in the NCAA after winning four games the year before. That squad also qualified for the Women's National Invitational Tournament, which marked the first national postseason tournament for the Blue Devils since moving to Division I.
Piper's 66 victories are the second most Division I wins among CCSU's women's basketball coaches. Her coach, Dr. Brenda Reilly, won 86 games over the program's first 10 seasons of Division I play.
Upon Piper's return to CCSU, the women's basketball program had a .313 winning percentage over 21 Division I seasons. Piper has posted a winning percentage of .440 over her five seasons, improving the program's winning percentage to .340. Piper has coached the Blue Devils in just five of 26 Division I seasons, but her 66 victories account for 27% of CCSU's 244 all-time victories.
"I am thrilled to accept my contract extension with Central Connecticut. It means so much to me that the administration believes in what we are doing with the program on and off the court," Piper said. "I look forward to continual improvement and winning the women's basketball program's first NEC championship."
A four-year player and co-captain of the 1985-86 women's basketball team, Piper helped lead the Blue Devils to a 24-4 mark as a senior. That team, which reached the NCAA Division II quarterfinals, holds the record for most wins and best winning percentage in program history. She also participated in Blue Devil softball. As a senior, Piper won the Gail Rutz Award as CCSU's outstanding female student-athlete. She went on to play professionally for Team Blarney in Ireland, where she was part of the 1986-87 national championship team.
In addition to being one of 11 women's basketball members in the Central Connecticut Alumni Athletics Hall of Fame, Piper has received the Rebecca McCord Award for Athletic and Academic Excellence from the University.
She earned her master's degree in health education from Southern Connecticut in 1991 and completed 30 credits beyond her master's in 2003 at the University of Hartford.
Piper, who also served as a physical education teacher at New Britain High, began her coaching career as a junior varsity coach and varsity assistant coach at Northwest Catholic High School in 1987-88, during which the varsity team won a state title. She moved on to New Britain for the following season, inheriting a 0-20 team. Over her last 10 seasons at NBHS, Piper compiled a 200-49 record.
Piper collected her first collegiate victory at Stony Brook on Dec. 12, 2007, leading the Blue Devils to a 61-59 win. She earned her first Northeast Conference win on January 7, 2008 as CCSU defeated Wagner, 62-54, on the road in overtime. The first win of Piper's career in Detrick Gymnasium followed a week later when Central defeated St. Francis (PA), 72-64.