Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s basketball hires Mike Leflar as next head coach

Tory Verdi goes to Pitt, Leflar takes over
Thom Kendall / UMass Athletics

Mike Leflar is the next head coach of the Massachusetts women’s basketball program. The hire comes after  Tory Verdi announced his departure after seven years at UMass in the head coaching position.

Leflar provided a statement  via email Monday:

“I am honored and grateful to be the next head coach of the University of Massachusetts women’s basketball program,” Leflar said. “A special thanks to Director of Athletics, Ryan Bamford, and Deputy Director of Athletics, Kirsten Britton, for their support throughout this process and their confidence in me moving forward. This is a professional dream come true. The past five years at UMass have been extraordinary for my family and I. We had historic success on the court. More importantly, we built great relationships with our student-athletes and the surrounding community and we are excited to call UMass home for many years to come. I want our student-athletes to love their entire UMass experience and I am excited for that responsibility starting today.”

Leflar arrived at UMass in May 2018, as an assistant head coach and was promoted to associate head coach in December 2021. Prior to Amherst, Leflar spent three years at Northeastern and one year at Binghamton from 2014-2015. He spent 10 years at Boston University, as both an assistant and associate head coach for the Terriers. The BU women’s basketball team had four WNIT appearances and two America East regular season champions with Leflar on staff. His first coaching stint since graduating from BU as a student came in 2004 when he served as an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, guiding the Penn women’s basketball team to a 2004 Ivy League Title.

Prior to the hire, graduate student Sam Breen told WMUA’s Josh Schreiber and Jacob Munch “I’m not even going to refrain. I hope he gets [the HC job], if he doesn’t get it I do think that would be a mistake,” Breen said on Friday.

“He out of absolutely anyone deserves it, he has more knowledge, he builds relationships, he has everything that a head coach should have … every chance I get, I am going to shout him out.”

When Breen first arrived via transferring from Penn State, Leflar wasn’t her position coach but after staffing changes, he switched over starting her second semester with the team. Breen told WMUA that before coming to UMass, movements like a pull up jumper or step back was never something she’d imagine herself doing but thanks to working with Leflar these last four seasons, her game completely transformed.

Breen hung up her jersey for the Minutewomen in the WNIT loss to Harvard but leaves UMass with arguments for a jersey retirement. She passed Sue Peters’ record for career points on senior day  and against Harvard, broke the single season record for most points scored in a season for UMass with 589 in 34 games, besting Peters record of 587. Most recently, Breen was named the 2023 Becky Hammon Mid Major Player of the Year.

Following Verdi’s departure, Ber’Nyah Mayo announced via Twitter that she has entered the transfer portal. Sources reported to the Next that Laila Fair has also entered the portal. Leflar will have a much different roster with Destiney Philoxy and Breen gone, in addition to Mayo who has started every game for the Minutewomen since her freshman year.

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