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Patrick Nero

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

After 16 seasons at GW, men’s and women’s head water polo coach Scott Reed will not return to the program, the athletics department announced Monday.

The announcement comes after the men finished their season with an overall record of 13-15 and an eighth-place finish at the CWPA Championships. The women’s season begins next semester.

Assistant coach Adam Foley will serve as interim head coach for both teams.

“We want to thank Scott for his service to GW Athletics since 1999 when he first helmed our men’s water polo program,” Athletic director Patrick Nero said in a release. “We wish him the best as we look forward to the future for GW water polo.”

Reed coached the men’s team for 16 seasons and the women’s team for 15 seasons. He posted a 167-280 record with the men’s team and a 173-240 record with the women’s for an overall 340-520 record.

Foley joined GW this past August after one year as an assistant at Johns Hopkins. He was previously the head coach of the MIT men’s team, which won the CWPA Division III Eastern Championship under his leadership in 2007 and 2010.

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Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald celebrate in GW's win in the A-10 quarterfinals | Hatchet File Photo

Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald celebrate during GW’s win in the A-10 quarterfinals last season. | Hatchet File Photo

D.C. will host the Atlantic 10 men’s basketball championship for the first time in 2018 at the Verizon Center, the league announced Thursday.

GW Athletic Director Patrick Nero said picking the Verizon Center, a venue just minutes away from campus, is yet another nod to the University’s budding men’s basketball program.

“As we went through this process, that was always in the back of the mind of a little bit of a home-court advantage, but also the progress that we’ve made in our men’s basketball program,” Nero said. “So now for the opportunity to have this tournament in our backyard, we see it as great recognition of this community and how we support college basketball and a reward for our fans.”

The A-10 also announced Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh will host the 2017 basketball championship.

The picks come after nine competitive bids for the two tournament destinations were submmitted, A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said.

“On behalf of the A-10, I and all of our members really look forward to working with and competing in each of these really great venues and outstanding cities for 2017 and ’18,” McGlade said in a teleconference.

The Pittsburgh- and D.C.-based tournaments will be a shift away from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., which has hosted the A-10 tournament since 2013. In late March, the A-10, the Atlantic Coast Conference and Barclays Center agreed to allow the ACC to play its conference tournament at the venue to cap off the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The A-10 Championship will return to Barclays Center in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Also part of the agreement is a scheduling partnership between the ACC and A-10 to play inter-conference doubleheaders at Barclays Center in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The A-10 secured a position for team participation in Barclays Center’s annual Brooklyn Hoops holiday tournament.

If GW makes it to the A-10 championship in 2018, it won’t be the Colonials’ first game on the Verizon Center court. GW plays an annual regular-season game at the venue for the BB&T Classic, and this year will square off against Charlotte on Dec. 7.

For men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan, a native of Bowie, Md., Thursday’s announcement hits close to home, and he hopes the one-year move to the Verizon Center will aid his local recruiting efforts.

“Having grown up locally, I have great memories of watching basketball games at the many venues around the city and in the area,” said Lonergan, who is heading into his fourth season as the Colonials’ head coach. “To have this opportunity to compete for a championship at Verizon Center in front of our loyal fan base, family and friends will be very special for me.”

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Then-sophomore guard Joe McDonald drives toward the basket against Radford last season. Hatchet File Photo

Then-sophomore guard Joe McDonald drives toward the basket against Radford last season. Hatchet File Photo

The men’s basketball team will make at least 14 appearances on national television this season, including six at home, the athletics department announced Wednesday.

GW’s record 14 national appearances is a three-game improvement from last season when the Colonials were featured in 11 nationally televised games. Three of GW’s home games will be broadcast on ESPN networks, which will be the first time ESPN has broadcast a Colonials’ home game since the 2006-07 season.

The first broadcast from home will be Jan. 15 on ESPNU, when the Colonials host Richmond’s Spiders.

On Feb. 6, ESPN will broadcast GW’s home game against Dayton and just a week later ESPN2 will give GW its final home-court broadcast on Feb. 14, when GW hosts VCU in a Valentine’s Day matchup.

The remaining ESPN broadcasts include three away games when GW jumps into the Diamond Head Classic from Dec. 22 to 25.

Another eight GW conference games, split evenly, will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network.

In addition to the national attention, the department expects at least 20 of the Colonials’ 31 regular season games will land on regional broadcasts.

“This is phenomenal exposure for our university, men’s basketball program and athletic department,” Athletic Director Patrick Nero said in a release. “Our team and the Colonial Army have worked hard to raise the level of GW basketball, and I am happy to see their accomplishments being recognized.”

After going 24-9 last season (14-1 at home), head coach Mike Lonergan will look to build on last year’s success.

“Our students, fans, campus community, alumni, players and recruits all rally around national TV games, so to have at least 14 of them, including three home games on the ESPN Networks, is going to make this an exciting season in Foggy Bottom and at the Charles E. Smith Center,” Lonergan said.

Overall, the Atlantic 10 set a new conference record with 75 nationally televised games for the season.

GW’s full A-10 schedule:
Saturday, Jan. 3 at Saint Joseph’s – TBD – CBSSN
Tuesday, Jan. 6 vs. Saint Louis – TBD – CBSSN
Saturday, Jan. 10 at La Salle – 12:30 p.m. – NBCSN
Thursday, Jan. 15 vs. Richmond – TBD – ESPNU
Saturday, Jan. 17 vs. George Mason – 4:30 p.m. – NBCSN
Thursday, Jan. 22 at Fordham – 7 p.m. – NBCSN
Saturday, Jan. 24 vs. Duquesne – TBD
Tuesday, Jan. 27 at VCU – TBD – CBSSN
Saturday, January 31 at Rhode Island – TBD
Friday, Feb. 6 vs. Dayton – TBD – ESPN2
Wednesday, Feb. 11 at Duquesne – 7 p.m. – A-10 Network/SNY
Saturday, Feb. 14 vs. VCU – TBD – ESPN2
Wednesday, February 18 vs. Davidson – TBD
Saturday, Feb. 21 at Richmond – TBD – CBSSN
Wednesday, Feb. 25 vs. St. Bonaventure – TBD
Saturday, February 28 at Davidson – TBD
Wednesday, March 4 at George Mason – 7 p.m. – A-10 Network/SNY
Saturday, March 7 vs. Massachusetts – 3:30 p.m. – NBCSN

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GW’s third women’s lacrosse coach in program history will leave the team after posting a 47-69 record over seven years.

Tara Hannaford, who was a four-year letter winner at the College of William & Mary, coached the Colonials to three Atlantic 10 Championship appearances. She said in a release Wednesday that she would leave the program to spend more time with family.

“I would like to thank [Athletic Director] Patrick Nero and the athletic department for a tremendous experience at GW,” Hannaford said. “I’ve loved coaching the student-athletes and being part of a thriving program.”

The Colonials went 7-9 last season, missing the playoffs after two consecutive postseason appearances in 2012 and 2013.

The search for Hannaford’s replacement is already underway.

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Then-senior Owen Beightol hits in GW's win against George Mason last season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Then-senior Owen Beightol hits in GW’s win against George Mason last season. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Colonials will host the Atlantic 10 baseball championships at Barcroft Park for the first time in the team’s history next year.

The top seven teams from the regular season standings will compete in the double elimination tournament from May 20 to 23, the league announced this week. The winner will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

The Colonials narrowly missed last season’s tournament when they finished the season eighth in the standings, a single game behind No. 7-seeded Fordham. GW last qualified in 2013, when it was seeded fifth.

GW has won the A-10 championships four times – the first time in 1979 – but has never served as host.

The team has played at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Va. since 1993 and saw the venue undergo a $3 million renovation before the 2013 season. The project added bullpens, batting cages and artificial turf to a facility that Athletic Director Patrick Nero has joked GW no longer hides from recruits.

Barcroft Park holds 500 spectators in grandstand seating at 4200 South Four Mile Run Drive. The University operates a student shuttle bus for weekend home games during the conference season, though GW has not yet released information about a shuttle for the tournament.

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This post was written by contributing sports editor Nora Priniciotti

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup in a January game. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup during a January game. File photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

For the first time in more than a decade, the women’s basketball team will take a trip to Europe.

The squad will travel to England and France from Aug. 13 to 23 to see the sights and play in exhibition games against European teams, the athletic department announced Tuesday.

Women’s basketball has not traveled internationally since it took a tour of Italy and Switzerland in 2001, but will boast plenty of stamps on their passports by the end of the year, with a tournament in the Bahamas also scheduled for Thanksgiving break.

“[The trip will] greatly enhance our team chemistry by giving our returning players and incoming freshmen an early opportunity to bond while also playing strong international competition,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said in a release.

The team will first head to London, where the women will go on guided tours of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, take a ride on the London Eye and sightsee on a cruise on the River Thames.

GW already took home top marks in the Revolutionary Rivalry with George Mason, but the Colonials will hope to stage a reenactment of the Battle at Yorktown in a game against Barking Abbey, a London-based team.

International tensions will ease, however, with a Colonials youth clinic for Barking Abbey’s younger players.

They will then travel to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles and the River Seine before departing by train for Marseille and traveling along the French Riviera through Nice and the Principality of Monaco.

The port of Nice in France. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons License

The port of Nice in France. Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons License

Athletic director Patrick Nero said in a release that giving student-athletes who can not study abroad the chance to travel internationally is a priority for his department.

“While we of course hope this trip allows the women’s basketball team to build on a successful season this past year, more importantly we hope that the experience our student-athletes will gain from an international tour broadens their horizons and enriches their lives,” Nero said.

After their final dinner in Nice, the Colonials will fly home and get to work stateside in preparation for the 2014-15 season, building off their first Atlantic 10 Championship semifinal appearance since 2008 and their nine-win improvement from last season.

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Director of Athletics Patrick Nero

Since arriving at GW, athletic director Patrick Nero has made academics a priority for GW athletes. Hatchet File Photo

Along with notable improvements on the field, GW athletes made strides in the classroom this year.

Fifteen of GW’s 19 Division I NCAA-competing programs achieved perfect Academic Progress Rates for the 2012-13 season, the association announced Wednesday. Of those 15 programs, nine teams were in the top-10 percent multiyear rate, three more teams than last year and tied for second-most in the conference with Dayton University.

The APR weighs a combination of factors including eligibility, retention and graduation rates, providing a measure of each team’s academic performance. The current multiyear period reflects the 2009-10 through 2012-13 academic years.

GW teams that received perfect scores included baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s cross country, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, women’s rowing, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s water polo.

“Athletics has been a campus leader in striving for academic excellence, and this announcement is a testament to those efforts,” Provost Steven Lerman said in a release.

Athletic director Patrick Nero has made academics a priority for the department. Since he came to GW three years ago, team GPAs and six-year graduation rates have risen across the board.

Nero receives regular progress reports from professors about athletes’ grades and participation in classes. He also enforces a mandatory class attendance policy and requires eight hours of study halls each week.

“At GW our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and staff strive for excellence in everything that we do, and today’s report is proof of the tireless efforts put into academics” Nero said in the release.

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Head coach Jonathan Tsipis speaks at his introductory press conference in 2012.  Hatchet File Photo.

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis speaks at his introductory press conference in 2012. Hatchet File Photo.

This post was written by assistant sports editor Nora Princiotti.

Women’s basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis has seen his contract extended through the 2020-21 season, director of athletics and recreation Patrick Nero announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes after a turnaround year for the Colonials, in which they reached the Atlantic 10 semifinals for the first time since 2008, knocking off two ranked teams in the process.

After winning just 25 games in the last four seasons under previous head coach Mike Bozeman, Tsipis was tasked with restoring the reputation of a once nationally known program that had made 15 appearances at the NCAA tournament.

Since he joined GW for the 2012-13 season, Tsipis has not disappointed: He coached the Colonials to a nine-game improvement this season as they finished with a 23-11 overall record.

“We brought Jonathan here to restore the tradition of excellence of GW women’s basketball, and in just two seasons at the helm of our program he has done exactly that,” Nero said in a release. “We’re excited to continue on that path under his leadership in our women’s basketball program.”

Tsipis’ ability to recruit top athletes to the program has marked his success as coach. Freshman Caira Washington earned the A-10 Rookie of the Year award this season after leading the conference in offensive rebounding and field goal percentage.

Sophomore transfer Jonquel Jones, another Tsipis recruit, led the Colonials in scoring with nearly 15 points per game and rebounding with more than 11 rebounds per game. Jones also received postseason honors, earning a spot on the All-Conference Second Team.

Tsipis’ leaps in recruiting are extending into next season: His incoming players are touted as the highest-ranked recruiting class in the A-10 conference.

At season’s end, Tsipis was one of three finalists for the 2013-14 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Region I Coach of the Year, alongside Geno Auriemma, the head coach of National Champion team Connecticut and Louisville head coach Jeff Walz, whose team made an appearance in the Elite Eight.

Tsipis came to GW as a rookie head coach, toting an impressive start to a coaching career with a gold NCAA championship ring on his finger after nine seasons as Muffet McGraw’s associate and recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame.

Tsipis brought the experience of five NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances, with four coming in his last five years in South Bend. He pushed the Colonials to a playoff appearance this season, which was new territory for every player on his roster.

The North Carolina alumnus was one of CollegeInsider.com’s top-10 assistant coaches in the nation after back-to-back NCAA National Championship game appearances in 2011 and 2012. He helped pull together one of the nation’s top-20 recruiting classes in each of his nine years and a top-10 class in three of his last four seasons.

“I want to thank Patrick Nero and President Knapp for bringing me to Washington and for their support and belief in me, my team and my family,” Tsipis said in the release. “George Washington has become a home for us and I’m honored to be the head coach of this proud program.”

The details of Tsipis’ contract have not been publicly released, though Nero has said in the past that Tsipis is the highest-paid women’s basketball coach in the conference.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:09 p.m.

NCAA votes to lift meal restrictions

Director of Athletics Patrick Nero

Athletic director Patrick Nero has spoken out against the NCAA’s rule on feeding athletes. Hatchet File Photo

Good news for hungry GW athletes.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will likely allow student athletes to get access to unlimited meals and snacks from their universities – abolishing a rule that athletic director Patrick Nero had been advocating against.

Currently, student athletes receive three meals a day or a food stipend. Additionally, partial-scholarship athletes, walk-ons and commuters are not included in the meal plans and instead pay for their own food.

That’s been a big problem at universities like GW, which has a non-traditional dining plan and expensive on-campus options.

“We hear from our students that it runs out mid-semester,” Nero told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

He added that the University had appealed the NCAA to establish its own cafeteria for athletes on campus, but was denied.

If the NCAA’s Legislative Council’s proposal is finalized by the Division I Board of Directors on April 24, athletes will be afforded unlimited meals as early as Aug. 1.

The pressure to change the bylaw was heightened when University of Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier told reporters that he sometimes goes to bed “starving” because he doesn’t have enough to eat.

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Members of the men's water polo team dressed in togas and cheered raucously earlier this year at the Smith Center. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Members of the men’s water polo team dressed in togas and cheered raucously earlier this year at the Smith Center. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Ben Krimmel, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

Foggy Bottom had become a virtual ghost town by Monday afternoon of spring break.

Except for a few holdovers — like myself — milling around campus, the only people around were prospective students on tours. With the sun cascading down on the Smith Center, I snuck up on one such group to listen for any mention of the men’s basketball team.

Knowing the GW marketing team’s penchant for hyperbole, I expected the guide to proclaim the basketball team serious NCAA Tournament contenders next to the likes of Florida and Kansas.

Instead, the bragging was rather scant. The tour guide simply stated that there had been a few attendance records set during this year’s season. I was mystified.

No mention of the 23 wins – the most since 2007 – and nothing about the team’s No. 3 seed in this weeks A-10 Tournament. The guide didn’t even let his group know that tickets are free for students. This may have been the guide’s only chance to boast about the University without any hint of irony, and he let the opportunity go by.

Of course, the omission of more statistics about GW’s winning season was this particular tour guide’s choice. But perhaps the underselling of the team’s success by this student and others on campus can be chalked up to the University’s collective uncertainty on how to promote the men’s basketball team’s victories – a new source of GW pride – to prospective students.

This is something that GW should highlight more, certainly at least as much as we tout the school’s proximity to national landmarks.

Sure, one winning season certainly does not mean there will be a flood of applications from students more interested in “bracketology” than election forecasting. But as the basketball team brings more national attention to the University, and some seedlings of the change have already taken root.

The increase in this year’s student attendance demonstrates the beginnings of a greater sense of community — something the University is often criticized for failing to create.

Higher attendance is a testament to the work of Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero, the leaders of the Colonial Army, the players and men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan. Whether it is the pregame tailgates, t-shirt giveaways or a free trip for students to the game at George Mason, this has been a year where pride seems to finally be coming naturally to GW students.

Tour guides and all other current students would be unwise to continue using athletics as a punchline. In fact, they should make it a focal point: For the millions who fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket, GW will now be known as one of 68.

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