Vermont’s Coach John Becker’s Road to Success

In following up my Tuesday’s BDN Article entitled, “Maine Men Should Look to Vermont’s Success and How it Was Obtained?”, I would like to go further about Vermont’s first year head coach John Becker who has had a very interesting rise to basketball success in the America East Conference.

He started his coaching career as an assistant coach at a D3 school in Washington. It was a school for the deaf called Gauladette. He had to learn sign language.

He was named the head coach after  being the assistant coach. He then moved on to his alma mater Catholic University as an assistant coach.

From there he took the job of Director of Basketball Operations for the University of Vermont for  $10,000 a year. He then was named an assistant coach at Vermont.

The coach that was the head coach at Vermont at that time was the coach that replaced Tom Brennan who had lead Vermont to that stunning upset over Syracuse in the openiing round of the NCAA March Madness Event

When that coach left last year to take the George Washington Job, Becker was named head coach. One of the first things he did was hire Chris Markwood from Maine as an assistant coach.

Compare that road to becoming a head coach to Maine’s Head Coach who had experience as an assistant under Calhoun at Connecticut and then under Coach John G. at Maine now at LaSalle.

Who had the easier road? It is not even close.

Becker took what was left by his former boss and went on to post a 23-11 regular season record and went on to win the AE Conference tournament and then preceeded to upset Lamar in the play in game, before losing to top seeded North Carolina by 19.

Compare that to Maine’s Head Coach who did having a winning season with the players that Coach G left him and they did win a quarter-final AE Conference game losing in the semi-finals.

Since that time Maine has gone 7 consecutive seasons without even winning one playi or quarter-final tournament game even when they were seeded 3rd two years in a row and lost to UNH and Hartford teams they had beaten twice during the regular season.

Coach Becker beat Maine twice in the regular season 70-65 at Vermont and 73-63 at Maine and  50-40 in the quarter-finals of the AE Conference Tourney.

Before the tournament game with Maine, Becker stated and I am paraphrasing, “Maine has as much talent in the conference as anyone, especially offensively”.

His statement is certainly backed up by the fact that the College Sports Madness Magazine named 4 of Maines starters to the top 15 players in the conference. Fraser and Edwards were named first team, .McLemore was named second team and Allison was named 3rd team and Edwards was named “Rookie of the Year”.

The official America East named McLemore and Fraser to the second team, McLemore the 3rd team and Edwards to the “All-Rookie Team”.

These selections backup Beckers statement about the talent and Maines 75 points per game average also backs up his “especially offensively statement”.

Statistcally there was little to choose betwenn Maine and Vermont. Maine played 29 games and Vermont 36 games. Maine and Vermont both shot 44% from the floor, both shot 73% from the line and Maine shot 31.9 and Vt shot 32.5% from 3 point line. Vermont got to the foul line to shoot 20.3 shots and Maine 16.3. Maine took 30.3% of their FGA as 3’s and Vermont 28.9%. Maine had 14.8 turnovers, VT 12.2 and Maine had 15.8 assists and Vt had 13.4.

Not much difference in stats except Maine took 65 FGA’s and Vermont took 54,3 FGA’s. The big difference is that no Vermont player averaged 10 FGA’s while Maine had 3 players above 10 plus FGA’s. This means Vermont had better team scoring balance, was more patient on offense and took better percentage shots then Maine did.

Beckers team was the best coached team I have seen this season at any level and he certainly should get the “Coach of the Year” Award for getting THE MOST OUT OF THE LEAST than any other College at any level in  New England.