Randy Monroe was promoted to head men's basketball coach at UMBC on March 23, 2004. He had been serving as acting head coach since March 2, and coached the Retrievers in their 65-59 First Round loss to Stony Brook in the America East Conference Tournament. Tom Sullivan resigned as head basketball coach on March 11.
In Monroeís first season as a head coach, the Retrievers displayed the same intensity and determination that the rookie mentor displayed from the sideline. In the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Retrievers defeated local rivals Navy, Towson and Loyola, rallying from late second-half deficits in wins over the Midshipmen and Greyhounds. UMBC capped its non-league slate with a stunning road win at Delaware, handing the Blue Hens a rare home loss.
In conference play, the Retrievers won three straight in late January, including a 14-point victory at Maine, then made eventual league champion Vermont sweat out a 10-point win in Baltimore and a last minute 66-61 win on Senior Night in Burlington. After UMBC closed the regular season with a win over Hartford, Coach Monroe guided the squad to its first-ever America East Tournament win, a 78-73 triumph over New Hampshire before the season ended less than 24 hours later in a setback to Vermont.
Monroe had been an assistant coach at UMBC since the 1994-95 season, a span of ten years. He was hired by Earl Hawkins and retained when Coach Sullivan took over the following season.
"This is a tremendous opportunityÖan opportunity most assistant coaches live for," Monroe said. "I have been an assistant coach for 20 years, and perhaps some people in that position would have been upset not to get an opportunity earlier. The way I look at it, I gained a tremendous amount of experience and learned so much about the development of young people throughout the years. I believe that experience will serve me well as a head basketball coach.Ē
In 2003, many people around the country learned what East Coast basketball fans have known for a long time when the affable native of Philadelphia was one of 27 Division I coaches (all sports) nationally to receive AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year honors. The winners were selected from a field of more than 350,000 coaches across the nation. The criteria in the second annual AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year program allowed for coaches to win based on longevity, expertise, contributions to the school and community and special achievements throughout their careers. "I would like to express my gratitude toward [UMBC President] Dr. (Freeman) Hrabowski, [UMBC Provost] Dr. (Arthur) Johnson, and [Director of Athletics] Dr. (Charles) Brown for giving me this opportunity and showing enough confidence in me to become the head basketball coach at UMBC.Ē Monroe said. I will work as hard as I always have and be as committed as I've always been to this program and the young men that are a part of it. We will put a product on the floor that the UMBC community can be proud of."
"In his ten years at UMBC, Randy has displayed all of the outstanding qualities necessary to be a Division I basketball coach," Dr. Brown said. "He has a passion for the game, a tremendous work ethic, knowledge and experience as a player and as a coach at various levels of Division I and the personality to bring out the best in our players. I was also very impressed with the number of alumni and people in the community that contacted me in support of Randy."
Monroe had previously served as assistant coach at Vanderbilt University (1993-94), LaSalle University (1988-1993) and his alma mater, Cheyney University (1985-87). During his tenure at Vanderbilt, the Commodores finished the 1993-94 season at 20-12 and were 1994 National Invitational Tournament finalists. While at LaSalle, the Explorers compiled a record of 119-39, won three Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titles and gained three NCAA Tournament berths and one NIT berth. Cheyney averaged 24 wins per season in Monroe's two campaigns, and in 1986, they were the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Champions, the Eastern Regional Champions and participants in the NCAA Division II Final Four in Springfield, Mass.
In 1987-88, he assisted Dave "Lefty" Ervin at the William Penn Charter School, where the Quakers tied for the league title with a 20-10 record.
Monroe had an excellent playing career at Philadelphia University and Cheyney University. In 1982, he was named one of the top freshmen on the East Coast by Eastern Basketball Magazine. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree (Magna Cum Laude) in Recreation Administration from Cheyney in 1987. Monroe was recently selected to enter the Cheyney University Athletic Hall of Fame.
"I want to develop a winning attitude with everyone involved with the program," Dr. Brown said. "I would like to see improvement in every player in all phases of the game, and bring that all together to form a cohesive team. Ultimately, I want our team to become more competitive in the America East Conference, and contend for a conference title.Ē
Collegiate Coaching Timeline
UMBC-Head Menís Basketball Coach
2005-06: 10-19 America East Record: 5-11 (8th)
2004-05: 10-18 America East Record 5-13 (9th)
2003-04: 0-1 (.000)
Totals 21-38 America East Record: 10-24
UMBC, Assistant Menís Basketball Coach
Teamís Record: 119-160
Vanderbilt, Assistant Menís Basketball Coach
Teamís Record: 20-12
Notes: NIT Finalists
La Salle, Assistant Menís Basketball Coach
Teamís Record: 119-39
Notes: Three NCAA Tournament bids
Cheyney, Assistant Menís Basketball Coach
Teamís Record: 48-14
Inducted into Cheyney University Hall of Fame
Named AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year
Named one of nationís top freshmen by Eastern Basketball Magazine