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BU lands proven winner, hires Dempsey as men’s basketball coach

Seven-year Division I head coach is introduced at Friday morning press conference

May 24, 2012

BU lands proven winner, hires Dempsey as men’s basketball coach

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Contact: John Hartrick (

VESTAL, N.Y. – Binghamton University has hired Tommy Dempsey as its new head men’s basketball coach, Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott announced on Thursday. Dempsey was introduced at a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday in the Events Center TAU Bearcat Room.

The 38-year-old Scranton, Pa. native comes directly from Rider University (N.J.), where he served as head coach for the past seven seasons.

Bringing in an established Division I head coach with notable success is a strong step forward for Binghamton’s athletics program. Dempsey guided the Broncs to national postseason tournaments in three of the last five years and his teams averaged 17 wins per season during his tenure.

Equally important, Dempsey’s student-athletes have a proven track record of academic accomplishment under his leadership. His Rider program has received the NCAA Public Recognition Award four times in the last five years for having an APR score in the top 10 percent in the country, including three perfect scores. Every four-year player in his program has graduated on time and Dempsey has never had a player ruled academically ineligible. 

“Tommy Dempsey is a great hire for Binghamton University,” said University President Harvey G. Stenger. “He has a track record of competitive and academic success that will bring energy to our men’s basketball program. I am looking forward to watching the program grow under his guidance.”

In his seven-year tenure, Rider has the third-most total wins of any program in the MAAC (behind only Siena and Fairfield) and has more wins than any program in the Metropolitan area – more than Seton Hall, Hofstra, St. John’s and Princeton among others.   

“Tommy’s basketball credentials are impressive to say the least,” said Elliott. “However his demonstrated commitment to academic excellence and student-athlete welfare is equally impressive. As we narrowed our strong candidate pool, Tommy stood out and the more we spoke, it became clear to me that we shared a similar vision for the future of the program. Tommy Dempsey is a great addition to the University, our athletics department and the greater Binghamton community.”

Dempsey, widely considered a talented and charismatic head coach, posted a 119-105 career record at Rider, which competes in the basketball-rich Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

“This is an exciting time to be a part of Binghamton University,” Dempsey said. “I am looking forward to getting on the court with the players this summer and establishing our culture as a program. I am also excited to get on the phone with recruits and their families and let them know that we have a great university and basketball program. I am anxious to get to work.”

Dempsey has established the school record for wins at three different colleges and has been named Coach of the Year four times in nine years as a head coach.

At Rider, Dempsey steered two different teams to 23-win seasons. His 2007-08 squad, led by current NBA player Jason Thompson, captured the MAAC regular season crown and played in the College Basketball Invitational. Thompson, who was recruited by Dempsey, was a lottery pick, taken 12th by the Sacramento Kings in the 2008 NBA Draft. 

Dempsey was named the 2008 MAAC Coach of the Year and also was presented with the Peter A. Carlesimo Award as the Division I Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year. His program produced seven all-conference players, including the Player of the Year.

Dempsey’s Broncs won 19 games in 2008-09 and were selected to the Postseason Tournament. After a 17-win campaign one year later, Rider went 23-11 in 2010-11, knocking off USC and TCU before returning to the postseason. That four-year span (2007-10) resulted in 82 wins – the most in any four-year span in Rider school history. 

Prior to taking the reins at Rider, Dempsey was an assistant coach with the Broncs from 2003-05. His recruiting for head coach Don Harnum helped lead to a regular-season MAAC title in 2005 and the foundation for the program’s pending success.

After serving as an interim head coach in 2005-06, Dempsey, the third-youngest Division I head coach in the country at the time, doubled the team’s win total in his first full year as head coach in 2006-07. His 16-win Broncs team reached the MAAC quarterfinals and was the only team (out of eight) in New Jersey to post a winning record.
Prior to his time at Rider, Dempsey took two different schools to the NJCAA Final Four, including a trip to the national championship game in 2003. In three years as head coach at the junior college level, his compiled an 88-12 record, including a perfect 46-0 mark at home. He was twice a finalist for National Coach of the Year honors.

At Lackawanna College, Dempsey took his team to the Division II national championship game in 2003 and was the Region 19 and District 9 Coach of the Year. He inherited a team that wasn’t in the preseason top 40 and finished national runnerup with a school-record 33 wins (33-4).

Dempsey spent two seasons at Keystone College and compiled a 55-8 record. After inheriting an 11-12 team, Dempsey led the 2000-01 squad to 26 wins and a conference title in his first season, earning Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year honors. In 2001-02, Keystone won a school-record 29 games and advanced to the NJCAA Final Four and Dempsey was the Region 19 and District 6 Coach of the Year and a finalist for national coach of the year.

He began his head coaching career at age 24 at Wyoming Preparatory School in 1999. Before that, Dempsey served as an assistant coach for two years at his alma mater, Susquehanna University (1997-99). 

As a player, Dempsey was a three-year letterwinner and team captain at Susquehanna before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1997. He earned his master’s degree in early childhood education from Bloomsburg University in 2005 and was a second grade teacher before turning his attention to coaching.

Tommy and his wife, Amy, have four children: Tommy (12), Emily (10), Brian (5) and Tyler (2).

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