Basketball coach McVean poised to celebrate 500th career win

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Dylan Heuer

RIT basketball coach Bob McVean has been at the helm of the men’s team for 30 years.

Milestones will be simultaneous for Bob McVean during the 2012-2013 basketball season as he begins his 30th year coaching the RIT Tigers. A veteran of more than 40 years in the coaching fraternity, McVean is less than seven wins shy of 500 career wins. When he hits that milestone, he will become just the 32nd head coach in Division III history to reach that mark. 

McVean’s successes are well documented: six NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, including three No. 1 seeds in the East region and a berth in the 1996 Sweet 16; six Empire 8 Conference championships; and two Wendy’s College Classic titles. He is also a two-time National Association of Basketball Coaches East Region Coach of the Year and a seven-time Empire 8 Coach of the Year. In 29 seasons with the Tigers, McVean has a record of 435-318 and led the team to winning records in 20 straight seasons. He served as the head coach at now defunct Eisenhower College from 1977 to 1982 and won 58 more contests.

However, after spending time with McVean and his program, the wins pale in comparison to the hundreds of young men McVean has guided as freshmen and helped shape into accomplished adults by the end of their senior seasons.

If you talk to any of McVean’s peers, co-workers, current players and former players, they will tell you that as a coach, he is hard-working and gets the most out of his players. Ask about McVean “the man,” and there’s a similar response.

“As a person, Coach McVean is second to none,” says Jeff Haskell ’88, who played for McVean from 1984 to 1988 and is a member of the RIT Athletics Hall of Fame. “He is a role model for all his players and I am in awe of his love of the game to this day.”

Many of the traits McVean has ingrained in his student-athletes throughout the years include sportsmanship, character, ethics and accountability.

“From the start, Bob impressed me as a passionate go-getter,” says Louis Spiotti Jr., who has led RIT’s athletics program since 1980 and hired McVean in 1983. “We are fortunate to have had him lead our basketball program for such a long time. He is incredibly loyal and has a strong set of values and ethics that he has passed on to his players, who have a great deal of respect for him.”

“Coach gets the most out of his players because he is a great communicator and all of the guys know what’s going on,” says forward Brendan Reinert, a third-year finance major from Starpoint, N.Y. “He stresses self-discipline and time management, but is also a player’s coach, who cares about us off the floor as students and men.” 

McVean has no urge to step aside anytime soon.

“I’ve been fortunate to have such a great group of young men play here throughout the years,” McVean says. “I will know when it’s time to stop coaching, but the competitive fire still burns and fuels me for the next day of practice, next game and next season. We certainly look forward to getting back to the successes we’ve had and get better on a daily basis.”