Slamma-Jamma Director: Art Leary PDF Print E-mail

The man responsible for the most significant moments in Southern Connecticut State University men's basketball history is Art Leary.

Leary served 28 seasons as the Owls’ head coach, highlighted by the 1999-2000 season when the Owls were ranked as high as fourth nationally in Division II and finished with a 25-4 record.

The New England Collegiate Conference honored Leary as its Coach of the Year in Southern's final season before moving to the Northeast-10 Conference. Leary's team was the top regional seed in the NCAA Division II championship tournament, losing in the New England semifinal.

The 1996-97 squad was also one of the finest in Southern history. The Owls won a record 28 games and lost four, won the NCAA Northeast regional, and advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in Louisville before losing to eventual champion Cal State Bakersfield, 65-62.

The Owls also reached the NCAA Division II Tournament in 1981-82 and 1982-83. Southern lost to Sacred Heart in the championship game of the New England regional in 1981-82 and played in the Great Lakes Regional with eventual national champion Wright State in 1982-83.

Eight of the top 10 scorers in SCSU history were coached by Leary, including No. 1 Rich Radicioni (1985-90), No. 2 Jerritt Lewis (1994-98), and No. 4 T.J. Trimboli (1996-00). A three-time NECC Coach of the Year (1981-82, 1996-97 and 1999-00), Leary's teams had a 369-391 record and 33 All-Conference selections.

A Meriden native, Leary was basketball captain and most valuable player at Platt High. He went on to star at Quinnipiac University, helping his teams to NAIA regional tournaments in his junior and senior seasons. Leary is a member of both the Platt and Quinnipiac Athletic Halls of Fame, and is among the top 20 on QU's all-time scoring list with 1,159 points.

Leary has served as the chairman of the Division II National All-American Committee for the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and as a member of the NABC's Research Committee. He coached the NABC Division II East All-Stars to victory over the West All-Stars in Louisville, Kentucky in 2013.

Leary and his wife, Nancy have two sons – A.J., a graduate of Catholic University, and Brendan, the former all-time leading basketball scorer at Wesleyan University.

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