College Begins Search for Replacement
Siena Finishes the Season 12-17
By: Mark Singelais, Albany Times Union
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Watch on Siena All-Access!
Gina Castelli enters her 22nd season as Head Women's Basketball Coach at Siena College. The longest tenured active coach in the MAAC and the winningest coach in Siena Basketball history, Castelli has posted a 324-279 (.537) overall record including a 216-137 (.612) mark in the MAAC. A five-time MAAC Coach of the Year (1991, '94, '98, '01, '02), Castelli has guided the Saints to seven MAAC Regular Season Titles (1993-94, '97-'98, '98-'99, '00-'01, '01-'02, '02-'03, '03-'04) while capturing the MAAC Tournament Championship during the 2000-01 season.
Under Castelli's guidance, the Saints have posted seven 20-win seasons and made four postseason appearances, playing in the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and the WNIT in 1999, 2002 and 2003. Castelli is third all-time in MAAC Women's Basketball history in both wins and games coached, trailing only Mike Granelli of Saint Peter's and Dianne Nolan of Fairfield.
Castelli became just the third MAAC women's coach to win 300 career games joining Granelli and Nolan during the 2009-10 season when she earned the milestone victory against cross-town rival UAlbany on December 5, 2009. Castelli is the winningest basketball coach in school history, surpassing legendary men's coach Dan Cunha in 2004. In 2005, Castelli guided the Saints to their 500th win in program history and in 2008-09 won Siena's 200th MAAC game.
Last season Castelli led the Saints to their most overall wins (14) and MAAC victories (11) in seven years despite the team being picked eighth in the MAAC Preseason Poll. The Saints finished fourth and advanced to the MAAC Semifinals.
Under Castelli's tutelage, senior forward Serena Moore finished the season leading the MAAC in both scoring (14.8) and rebounding (8.7) while ranking second in blocked shots (1.7). Moore, who was named to the MAAC First Team and ECAC Second Team at the conclusion of the season, also became just the 13th player in MAAC history and second at Siena (Gunta Basko) to tally 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 100 blocked shots for her career.
Additionally, the 2010-11 season saw the Saints break the single-season program record for fewest points allowed in MAAC games at 49.6. Siena also finished the season ranking 11th nationally in scoring defense, allowing an average of just 53.4 points.
Castelli became the seventh women's basketball coach in Siena history prior to the 1990-91 season, after serving as an assistant at Siena under Jim Jabir. Castelli wasted no time engraving her name in MAAC history when she guided the Saints to a 21-7 record and a second-place finish in the league in her inaugural season. She won the first of five MAAC Coach of the Year awards following that season. As the fourth youngest coach in Division I at the time (27), Castelli was selected New York State Division I Coach of the Year. She repeated the honor in 1999.
Castelli has coached 37 All-MAAC selections, including 15 First Team honorees. She has mentored five MAAC Players of the Year, four MAAC Rookies of the Year and most notably a GTE District II All-American. Player of the Year honorees include: Val Higgins (1991), Liz Lops (1994), Melanie Halker (1998 & 1999), Gunta Basko (2001 & 2002) and Liene Jansone (2003). Basko also earned Kodak All-American District II status at Siena and had her jersey placed in the women's basketball Hall of Fame's Ring of Honor. During the 2005-06 season, Lops ('90s), Halker ('90s), Basko ('00s) and Jansone ('00s) were named to the MAAC 25th Anniversary Team.
Off the court, Castelli's student-athletes have enjoyed benchmark success in the classroom. The Siena women's basketball team posted a 93% cohort GSR compared to the national average of 83% in the 2009 NCAA Division I Federal Graduation Rates and NCAA Graduation Success Rates Report. The Saints were recognized in 2006-07 and 2007-08 by the NCAA for posting a multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the top-10 percent of all Division I women's basketball programs. Siena was among 32 institutions in 2006-07 and 35 in 2007-08 after securing an impressive multi-year APR. Additionally, two Saints earned MAAC All-Academic Team honors awarded at the conclusion of the 2010-11 campaign. Siena tied for the national lead in 2003 with a 100% graduation rate according to the NCAA report. The program was also one of just two (Stanford) in the 64-team NCAA Tournament in 2001 to have graduated 100 percent of incoming players over a seven-year period.
Castelli posted an overall record of 72-21 (.774) from 2000-2003 and orchestrated three consecutive postseason appearances. She led Siena to 24 wins and the program's first MAAC Championship and NCAA Tournament berth in 2001. In 2002, Castelli guided the Saints to their second straight postseason appearance (WNIT) and added another 23 wins to the record book. Siena set a school record, tallying a 19-game winning streak in 2003. During that season, the Saints advanced to the Second Round of the WNIT and completed a third straight 20-win season, the longest streak since the program turned Division I.
The 1993-94 campaign marked a breakthrough for both Castelli and the program. The Saints finished the year with a program-best 24-4 record. Three years later, the women posted a 17-game winning streak and another MAAC regular-season championship. The very next season (1998-99) the Saints tallied their second consecutive 20-win season. In 2000-01 Castelli mentored the squad to a program-record 17-1 conference record.
Castelli was asked to lead the Siena women's basketball program into the `90s. She brilliantly achieved this and more. At the time of her hiring, former athletic director William Kirsch explained, "Gina's a very knowledgeable basketball person and the continuity and stability she will give our program is important." Entering her 19th season, Castelli has proved just that and continues to bring the program to new heights.
A 1986 graduate of Canisius, Castelli finished her career as one of the greatest players in school history, ranking third in scoring (1,524 points), assists (578) and steals (273). She was inducted into the Golden Griffin Hall of Fame in 1997. A true student-athlete, Castelli was an Academic All-America while earning her bachelor's degree.
Castelli is an active member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and previously served as WBCA captain. Additionally, she previously served as a nominator for the USA Today Top-25 Coaches' Poll.She is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Women's Athletics Administrators, as well as a Division I Representative of the New York State Coaches Association. She has served on the NCAA East Regional Advisory Committee from 1999-2002.
For the past 11 years, Castelli has facilitated an active partnership between the Siena women's basketball program and the Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer (CRAAB). The women's basketball program raised a record $20,650 in this past year's Pink Zone Game. In 2008, she was recognized as the 11th annual BMW Hero Award for her efforts in educating the public on breast cancer awareness and in 2010 was recognized by the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce as a "Woman of Excellence in the Profession."
Year-By-Year With Coach Castelli
|1990-91||21-7||.750||13-3||.813||2nd||MAAC and New York State Division I Coach of the Year|
|1992-93||11-16||.407||5-9||.357||8th||Upset #1 seed Niagara in MAAC Tournament|
|1993-94||24-4||.857||13-1||.929||1st||MAAC Regular Season Champions; MAAC Coach of the Year|
|1997-98||20-8||.714||16-2||.889||1st||MAAC Regular Season Champions; MAAC Coach of the Year|
|1998-99||22-9||.710||16-2||.889||1st||MAAC Regular Season Champions; New York State Division I Coach of the Year|
|2000-01||24-6||.800||17-1||.944||1st||MAAC Regular Season and Tournament Champions; NCAA Tournament; MAAC Coach of the Year|
|2001-02||23-7||.767||16-2||.889||1st||MAAC Regular Season Champions; MAAC Coach of the Year|
|2002-03||25-8||.758||15-3||.833||1st||MAAC Regular Season Co-Champions; Single-season program record for wins|
|2003-04||17-11||.607||13-5||.722||1st||MAAC Regular Season Co-Champions|
|2009-10||11-18||.379||8-10||.444||7th||300th career coaching victory|