John Becker (basketball)

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John Becker
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Vermont
Conference America East
Record 139–69 (.668)
Biographical details
Born (1968-04-16) April 16, 1968 (age 49)
Fairfield, Connecticut
Playing career
1987–1990 Catholic University
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1994–1997 Gallaudet (asst.)
1997–1999 Gallaudet
2004–2006 Catholic University (asst.)
2006–2011 Vermont (asst.)
2011–present Vermont
Head coaching record
Overall 145–113 (.562)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
2x America East tournament championship (2012, 2017)
America East regular season championship (2014, 2017)
Awards
2× America East Coach of the Year (2014, 2017)
USBWA District I Coach of the Year (2017)[1]

John Becker (born April 17, 1968) is the head coach of the University of Vermont Catamounts men's basketball team.[2] He replaced Mike Lonergan, who left to become the coach at George Washington University.

Coaching career[edit]

Gallaudet/Catholic University[edit]

Becker's college coaching career began in 1994 when he became an assistant at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. In 1997, Becker was elevated to head coach of the Bison, where he served from 1997-99. Becker also served as the men's tennis coach, despite never playing the game, and also worked in the information technology field, as the coaching positions were part-time. He briefly left coaching to pursue a master's degree in information systems at George Washington University, however in 2004 Becker returned to coaching at his alma mater Catholic as an assistant coach under Steve Howes. While at Catholic, he helped guide the team to a 41-17 record, which included a 21-7 mark and NCAA Division III Tournament appearance in 2005-06. His first year with Catholic saw the Cardinals go 20-10 and advance to the Capital Athletic Conference Championship game.[3]

Vermont[edit]

In 2006–07, Becker joined the Vermont staff as director of basketball operations, serving in the role for two seasons before being promoted to assistant coach. Since his arrival, UVM has earned three postseason berths, including the 2010 NCAA Tournament.[4] On May 10, 2011, Becker was named interim head coach of the Catamounts while search was conducted.[5] On May 20, 2011, Vermont lifted the interim tag and named Becker the 16th coach in Vermont basketball history.[6]

2011–12[edit]

In his first year in charge of the Catamounts, Becker led Vermont to a second-place finish in the America East Conference with a 24-12 overall record and 13-3 mark in conference, winning the America East Championship for Vermont's fifth NCAA Tournament bid in nine years, defeating Stony Brook 51-43. Becker became just the second first-year head coach since Northeastern's Karl Fogel to win the conference tournament. He also set a Vermont record for most wins by a first-year head coach, breaking a 90-year-old record set by Tom Keady in the 1921-22 season with a 73-63 win on the road over Maine. In its NCAA First Round match up the Catamounts picked up their second-ever NCAA Tournament win, defeating Lamar 71-59 before falling to top-seeded North Carolina 77-58 in the Second Round.

2012–13[edit]

The 2012-13 season saw Vermont post another 20-win season, coupled with an appearance in the America East Championship game. Becker became just the second coach in league history to post back-to-back 20-win seasons in his first two seasons, along with two-straight appearances in the title game, joining Pat Chambers. The Catamounts were defeated at home by Albany 53-49, and elected to participate in the 2013 College Basketball Invitational, where it fell to Santa Clara 77-66 in the first round.

2013–14[edit]

In his third season with the Catamounts, Becker guided Vermont to a 15-1 mark and an America East regular season championship. The 20-win season made Becker the first coach in America East history post three-straight 20-win seasons in his first three seasons, and it was the 11th time in the last 13 seasons UVM eclipsed the 20-win mark. Despite this, Vermont was defeated by fourth-seeded Albany, 67-58, in the America East Championship semifinals. By virtue of winning the regular season, the Catamounts earned an automatic berth in the 2014 NIT.

2014–15[edit]

With nine freshman and sophomores on the roster, Vermont earned its seventh-straight 20 win season, and the 12th out of the last 14 years. Becker became the only coach in Vermont and America East history to win 20 games each of his first four years. Finishing second in the America East regular season, the Catamounts fell at home in the semifinals of the America East playoffs, and accepted a bid to the 2015 College Basketball Invitational. It was UVM's seventh-straight postseason appearance, and with wins over Hofstra in the opening round and Radford in the quarterfinals, the Catamounts earned their second and third CBI wins before falling to Louisiana-Monroe in the semifinals.

2015–16[edit]

After a 6-5 start to America East play, Vermont went on an eight-game win streak to reach the finals of the 2016 America East Conference Tournament championship game, where it fell 80-74 to Stony Brook. Becker guided the Catamounts to its fifth-straight 20-win season, and a bid to the 2016 College Basketball Invitational where the Catamounts made its second-straight semifinal appearance. It marked eight years in a row that UVM has participated in a postseason tournament. On January 27, 2016, Becker picked up his 100th overall victory at Vermont, with a 66-50 win over the New Hampshire.[7] The feat was accomplished in 158 games, which ties Mike Lonergan for fastest to reach 100 wins by a UVM coach.

2016–17[edit]

Becker guided the Catamounts to a historic season, setting a program record for wins, and a perfect 16-0 mark in America East play, marking only the third time in league history that a team completed the regular season undefeated. For his coaching efforts, Becker earned his second America East Coach of the Year award, while Catamount players swept all major conference awards.[8] Becker also moved into third all-time in wins at UVM. Vermont continued its run in the 2017 America East Men's Basketball Tournament, capturing its sixth conference tournament title to earn a berth in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. As a 13-seed with the longest win streak in the country at 21-straight heading into the tournament, the Catamounts faced fourth-seeded Purdue in the first round, falling 80-70 and finishing with an overall record of 29-6.

Personal life[edit]

Becker and his wife Kelly reside in Burlington, Vermont with their daughters Katherine and Ella.[4]

Head coaching record[edit]

NCAA DIII[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Gallaudet (Capital Athletic Conference) (1997–1999)
1997–98 Gallaudet 3–22 1–13 8th
1998–99 Gallaudet 3–22 1–13 8th
Gallaudet: 6–44 (.120) 2–26 (.071)
Total: 6–44 (.120)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

NCAA DI[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Vermont (America East Conference) (2011–present)
2011–12 Vermont 24–12 13–3 2nd NCAA Second Round
2012–13 Vermont 21–12 11–5 2nd CBI First Round
2013–14 Vermont 22–11 15–1 1st NIT First Round
2014–15 Vermont 20–14 12–4 T–2nd CBI Semifinals
2015–16 Vermont 23–14 11–5 T–3rd CBI Semifinals
2016–17 Vermont 29–6 16–0 1st NCAA First Round
Vermont: 139–69 (.668) 78–18 (.813)
Total: 139–69 (.668)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

References[edit]