Being recognized as a great coach by your players is one thing, but being recognized by your peers is a different type of admiration.
Coach Ryan Cain of the Keene State Men’s Basketball team was awarded with the Little East Conference (LEC) Coach of the Year title.
According to Keene State Athletics, Cain is the second basketball coach from KSC to win this prestigious award, “The fourth year head coach led his team to a 20-7 record this season while capturing his second LEC title. This is Cain’s third 20 win season in his four year tenure at KSC.”
Cain has been the Keene State Head Basketball coach for the last four years, winning two LEC championships with the Owls.
“The first two years we won the championship and the next two years we went down to EastConn and lost, so experiencing the highs and lows of the championship games is hard,” said Cain.
This was the first time in five years that Eastern Connecticut did not host the LEC championship game, which Cain said was “special to win this game at home in Keene.”
The Owls did not compete in the NCAA’s last season, which Cain said was “different because the freshman didn’t get to experience the tournament.”
Keene State’s all-time leading scorer Ty Nichols will be graduating in May, but Cain said the team “is still experienced.”
“We have had some guys play pretty significant minutes throughout the seasonm a lot of them being freshman and sophomores, so it’s not like we won’t have an experienced team for next season. It’ll be challenging, but we will just have to do things a little different than we have for the last four years,” said Cain.
After being asked about the honor of Coach of the Year, Cain said he thinks of it as a “team award.”
“It speaks toward the success that our team had this year. All the credit goes towards the players and the assistant coaches. The assistant coaches put in so much work behind the scenes and often don’t get a lot of the credit. They are here just as many hours I am,” said Cain.
As far as goals for the season, Cain said he was “happy with the regular season outcome.”
“We always want to have a more consistent regular season, but the main goal has always been to get to the NCAAs,” said Cain.
The Owls did not compete in the NCAA tournament in the 2018 season.
In the 2017 season, the Owls made it to the Sweet Sixteen and in the 2018 season they pushed through to the Elite Eight.
Keene State’s season ended after competing in the first round of the NCAA tournament this season but lost to Moravian College 86-65.
Cailla Prisco can be contacted