New England native and 21-year coaching veteran Tory Verdi was named the 11th women's basketball head coach at the University of Massachusetts on April 9, 2016.
In Verdi’s second year at the helm, Massachusetts continued to show great promise and upward trajectory. The 2017-18 squad improved in 17 team statistical categories from the previous season and captured the program’s most wins since the 2006-07 campaign.
Individually, Bre Hampton-Bey turned heads at both ends of the floor around the Atlantic 10, drawing recognition on the league’s All-Rookie Team. In addition, Hailey Leidel continued to solidify her position as one of the top three-point shooters in program history with a program-record 83 makes from beyond the arc.
Verdi’s Minutewomen made tremendous strides during his inaugural season in 2016-17, in spite of a limited roster size. Leidel was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, while then-junior Maggie Mulligan was one of the most improved players in the league with 20 double-doubles. Leidel ranked as the No. 2 scoring freshman in the NCAA and ranked fourth overall in scoring among all A-10 players. Mulligan ranked 11th overall in scoring and second in the league in rebounding.
"This is a truly exciting time for our women's basketball program with the addition of Tory Verdi as our head coach," Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford said upon Verdi’s hiring. "Tory has a tremendous track record of success that will be a real asset for our program as we compete for Atlantic 10 Championships. His enthusiasm for building a winning culture that promotes success in the classroom, in competition and in the community makes him a great fit for the University of Massachusetts."
Verdi arrived in Amherst with a head coaching record of 72-61 after spending four seasons at Eastern Michigan University. His teams advanced to the 2015 and 2016 Women's National Invitation Tournament, including a Round of 16 appearance, and the Mid-American Conference Championship Game in 2015.
An experienced coach at both the collegiate and professional levels, Verdi-coached teams have advanced to postseason play 13 of the last 16 seasons since 2001-02. Arriving in Ypsilanti for the 2012-13 campaign, he took an 8-22 squad to a record of 24-13 in 2014-15 and 22-12 in 2015-16. He also secured the MAC's No. 1 recruiting class twice during his tenure.
"I am thrilled to be the head coach at UMass," Verdi said. "I knew the day that I stepped on campus that the University of Massachusetts was a special place. UMass women's basketball has all of the elements to build a championship-caliber program and provide an outstanding student-athlete experience. I am excited to take this program to the next level."
Under Verdi, the 2015-16 MAC West Division preseason favorite Eagles made their mark in the EMU record books. Defensively, the squad totaled the fourth-most rebounds in a single season (1,364), while the team ranks seventh all-time in blocks (92) and third in steals (386).
EMU's high-tempo offense poured in 2,445 points, the third-most in a single season in school history, along with dishing out 435 assists, good for seventh-most. Additionally, the Eagles converted 218 three-pointers, ranking fourth all-time and marking the third consecutive season in which EMU has made 200 or more triples.
A large part Verdi’s 2014-15 record-setting performance came from the Eagles late run during the regular season and into postseason play. EMU finished the regular season with wins in its final four games, while also winning seven of its last eight. The Eagles appeared in eight postseason games, winning six of them. The Eagles advanced to the Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship, winning four-of-five MAC Tournament games, before advancing to the Sweet 16 of the 2015 Postseason WNIT. The Eagles rewrote the EMU record book with 124 different all-time top performances, including the most points in a season (2,549), field goals made (936), rebounds (1,539) and three-pointers made (223).
Verdi spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons as the top assistant at the University of Kansas. The Jayhawks advanced to the 2012 NCAA Sweet Sixteen and the 2011 WNIT Second Round.
Prior to his arrival in Lawrence, Verdi was an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska for five seasons (2005-10). The Huskers advanced to the postseason every year Verdi served on staff in Lincoln and collected the Big 12 Regular-Season Championship in 2009-10 with a 16-0 conference record.
Verdi spent the 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons on staff with the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, reaching the postseason during each year, and the 2004-05 collegiate season at Columbia University as the top assistant and eventual interim head coach.
A native of New Britain, Connecticut, Verdi earned his bachelor's degree in elementary education from Keene State College in 1996 and added a master's degree in computer technology from the University of Hartford in 2003. He and his wife, Heather, are parents to Tyler, Avery and Bradyn. Verdi was inducted into the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame on April 24, 2016.