Coach Kerry Phayre Breaking Records in 27th Season with Women's Basketball
Basketball has been a part of Kerry Phayre’s life for much longer than it hasn’t. Yet even in the 40th season of her coaching career (31st as a head coach, 27th with Assumption), Coach Phayre still finds new ways to raise the bar.
The 2022-23 campaign, which celebrated the team’s 50th anniversary, will long be remembered as the year of broken records and milestones for Phayre and the Greyhounds, who finished with a season record of 24-5 -- the best in program history. In November, the longtime women’s basketball head coach became Assumption University’s all-time winningest coach, earning her 413th victory for the Greyhounds in a 64-31 blowout of Saint Michael’s College at home in Laska Gymnasium to surpass former softball coach Ralph DeLucia’s record of 412.
“The team was just so excited for her,” Associate Head Coach Sue Cahill, who is in her 24th season with the Greyhounds, said. “It’s been a long time in the making and has resulted from the effort of so many players throughout the years -- it was just such a special moment to be a part of.”
“From a coach’s perspective, this record mostly makes me reflect on the team and all of the great players that I had an opportunity to coach,” Phayre said. “The wins are a result of the combined effort of all the players and coaches that make up the teams I’ve been proud to have the opportunity to coach in this program.”
Success has always been defined as a team accomplishment for Phayre, who, prior to her coaching career, was one of Rhode Island’s most outstanding female basketball players, leading Saint Xavier High School (Providence, RI) to a 76-4 overall record over the course of four years before captaining a Providence College team that went 66-27 during her tenure. She was named a finalist for the Margaret Wade Trophy in 1982, given annually to the National Collegiate Player of the Year, and was a Kodak All-American during her time with the Friars.
Even from her earliest playing days, Phayre, who idolized legendary University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, had always known that her destiny was to become a coach.
“I knew I wanted to coach when I was in high school,” Phayre said. “I had a very influential high school coach who transformed me as a player and inspired a love of the game. He had a massive influence on my life -- especially in sports and competition -- so I knew early on that I was going to become a student of the game so that when I graduated college, I could do what I wanted to do: coach.”
After graduating from Providence in 1983, Phayre immediately began her coaching career, coaching in a variety of assistant and head coaching roles at the University of Vermont, St. John’s University, Boston College, and Columbia University before eventually joining the Greyhounds in 1996 as the third head coach in program history.
“When I took the job at Assumption, I certainly didn’t know that I would be here for 25+ years, but after only a couple years in the program, I knew this was the team I was always meant to coach,” Phayre said.
Over her 27 years as head coach of the women’s basketball program Phayre has compiled an overall record of 446-421 (.514) and coached 49 NE-10 All-Conference Selections. Those close to Phayre attribute her long-term success with the program largely to her dedication and ability to prepare players for situations they might encounter both on and off the court.
“The way she coaches, it’s not just about basketball,” Cahill said. “There are many life lessons the players learn from her about being successful in the real world, and she truly cares about developing each player and coach into the best version of themselves.”
“The impact she has had on our institution and community is immeasurable,” Director of Athletics Eric Gobiel said. “She is a selfless, strong, and mindful leader who has always put the needs of her student athletes above all else. She epitomizes what it means to be a leader and couldn’t be more deserving of the success she has had throughout her career and this season.”
“Becoming the University’s all-time winningest coach is an amazing accomplishment and is truly a byproduct of her dedication and commitment to her student athletes and craft.”
The No. 19/20 Greyhounds continue their postseason on Friday, March 10th in Laska Gymnasium at 5:00PM when they host Dominican University (NY) in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The game will mark the first time in program history that the Greyhounds women’s basketball team will host an NCAA Division II Tournament game, and their first appearance in the tournament since the 2016-17 season.
The Greyhounds defeated Dominican at the beginning of this season in Laska Gymnasium by a score of 82-59 behind a 24-point performance by junior guard Molly Stokes. The tournament game will be the seventh meeting between the two programs with Assumption leading the all-time series 6-0.
The Greyhounds boast the second-best scoring defense (50.7), second-best field goal percentage defense (33.2) and sixth-best three-point defense in the country and were announced as the top seed in the East Regional Tournament to host all three rounds of the East Regional Championship. The first round will begin on Friday, March 10th. The second round will be on Saturday, March 11th, and the East Regional Championship will take place on Monday, March 13th.
For tickets, stats, game information, and more on Friday’s game vs Dominican University and the NCAA Division II East Regional Championship, click here.
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