Bergeron, Cormier among new hires for UMass basketball

Bergeron and Wheeler hired as assistant coaches, Cormier to serve in “administrative role”


Caroline O'Connor

By Thomas Haines, Collegian Staff

Almost three months after the departure of its three top assistants, the Massachusetts men’s basketball team has filled out its coaching staff.

Woodstock Academy’s Tony Bergeron and Fairfield assistant coach Tyson Wheeler join returning director of operations Luscious Jordan on the bench for UMass, Jon Rothstein tweeted Sunday. Rothstein also reported the hiring of former Dartmouth head coach Paul Cormier, who will serve in an administrative role.

“One of the things I wanted in a staff was young, hungry, energetic and passionate, things that reflect my personality,” coach Matt McCall said last Wednesday, in his first interview since the end of the season. “I think that’s what we have.”

Bergeron’s arrival has been anticipated for months, ever since Woodstock stars Tre Mitchell and T.J. Weeks committed to UMass at the end of March. In the program’s first two years, Bergeron guided the Centaurs to a 73-7 record, two conference titles and back-to-back invitations to the National Prep Championship tournament.

After starring for Rhode Island from ’95-’98 and playing professionally in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets during the 1998-1999 season and then in Europe for a decade, Wheeler spent the past eight years as an assistant at Fairfield. The Stags had five winning seasons in the eight years that Wheeler was there, during which time he turned down opportunities as an assistant elsewhere. The firing of coach Sydney Johnson in March changed things.

In an interview to New London’s The Day in March, Wheeler cited his ability to recruit across the country and his reputation from his playing career as assets he could bring to his new position.

McCall said Wednesday that he would bring in a former head coach as a special adviser, and Cormier is expected to fill that role. Cormier was fired as head coach at Dartmouth in 2016 after two stints with the program, compiling a 147-211 record over a total of 13 years. He was also the head coach of Fairfield for seven years, leading the Stags to an NCAA tournament appearance in 1997.

In between his time at Fairfield and his return to Dartmouth, Cormier held positions with several NBA teams, last serving as an advance scout with the Golden State Warriors before his return to college coaching.

Jordan enters his third season with the Minutemen after joining prior to the 2017-2018 season. Before UMass, Jordan worked as director of operations at Albany for a season and spent three years as an assistant coach at Siena.

After stumbling to a 4-14 Atlantic 10 record and a first-round exit in the A-10 tournament last year, UMass parted ways with associate head coach Cliff Warren and assistants Rasheen Davis and Peter Gash in March. McCall returns for his third season with the program.

In his interview Wednesday, McCall said that the new hires were still going through background checks.

“Obviously I’ve offered the job to people,” McCall said. “Working for a state university, there’s a lot of boxes you have to check from that standpoint.”

UMass has not officially announced the hires and has given no timetable for an official announcement.

Thomas Haines can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @thainessports.