Reilly resigns as Bates men's basketball coach

Joe Reilly coached Bates men's basketball to eight consecutive winning seasons.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Joe Reilly has resigned as head men’s basketball coach at Bates College to accept the head coaching job at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, completing the winningest coaching stint in the 74-year history of Bates men’s basketball.

“This was a difficult decision, but I believe it’s the best route for my family,” said Reilly, who has led the program since 1997. “Bates has been great to me and is a very special place. I’m blessed to have been involved with so many great student-athletes, parents, alumni and colleagues, and I’m grateful to the College for giving me a great opportunity as a 28-year-old assistant coach with no head coaching experience.”

Connecticut is the home state of both Reilly, a graduate of Trinity College, and his wife Isabel, who have four children. Reilly’s father, the late Joseph F. Reilly, was a Hall of Fame high school coach there; his uncle Gene Reilly and his brother Luke Reilly are also well-known high school coaches in Connecticut.

Reilly, Bates’ 20th head men’s basketball coach, posted a 154-121 record guiding the Bobcats, including a current streak of eight consecutive winning seasons. Since 2003-04, the team has posted a 92-37 record (.713 winning percentage), and twice set program records for wins in a season, with 19 in 2004-05 and 20 in 2005-06. Eight Bobcats have reached the 1,000-point scoring plateau in Reilly’s tenure. His coaching honors include New England Basketball Hall of Fame Coach of the Year in 2003-04 and the NESCAC Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year in 2005-06.

“Everyone in the Department of Athletics and so many at the College have enjoyed Joe as a colleague and a friend,” said Bates Director of Athletics Kevin McHugh. “In my short time here, I have come to appreciate what a quality individual he is. He built a terrific program, brought competitive success to the men’s team and worked extremely hard to make a meaningful impact on the campus, the local community, and Bates alumni. We wish Joe and his family all the best in their new endeavor.”

McHugh said that the search for a new head coach will begin immediately. “I fully expect that we will secure the right person to build on the fine program and on the successes that have already been achieved.”