Providence Friars
Providence Friars
School Name: Providence College
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Arena: Dunkin Donuts Center
Capacity: 12,500
Conference: Big East
Head coach: Ed Cooley

The Providence Friars men's basketball team represents Providence College in NCAA Division I competition, in which they are a founding member of the Big East Conference. They play their home games at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Since 2011, the head coach is Ed Cooley.

The Friars have made two Final Four appearances in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, in 1973 and 1987. Three former players or coaches are enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame: Dave Gavitt, John Thompson, and Lenny Wilkens. In addition, two-time NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament champion, Florida Gators men's basketball head coach Billy Donovan, helped lead the Friars (as a player) to the Final Four in 1987.


Early years: 1921–1955

Providence Friars basketball can be traced back to 1921, when the four-year old school fielded its first basketball team on an informal basis. This first team only lasted two years, however, and did not return until the 1926–27 season when Archie Golembeski, the school's football coach, led to the team to a win over St. John's before devoting his time to football the next year. He was replaced by Al McClellan, who coached the team to four New England championships – 1929, 1930, 1932, and 1935 – and had an overall winning percentage over .700. In 1938, McClellan left and was replaced by Ed Crotty, who led the team to a 15–5 record in 1942–43 before the team suspended play the next year after the outbreak of World War II. After the war, the NCAA divided its teams into two divisions, the University Division and the College Division; with a smaller enrollment and no home court (the team played in an on-campus auditorium and then local high school gyms), the Friars were placed into the College Division and no longer faced the opponents they once played.

1955-1969: Mullaney era

In 1949, Vin Cuddy was hired as the team's head coach, leading the team to a 14–9 record in his first season and qualified for the NAIB regional tournament in 1951, behind the school's first 1,000-point scorer, Jim Schlimm. By 1955, Cuddy's record fell to 9–12 and he was replaced by Joe Mullaney; at the same time, the school opened its first on-campus gym, Alumni Hall. In 1959, Mullaney and the Friars defeated ranked Villanova on the road, leading to their first-ever National Invitational Tournament bid.

The Friars reached the NIT Finals in 1960 before winning the tournament in 1961 behind future hall of famer Lenny Wilkens. Two years later, led by another future hall of famer, John Thompson, as well as future Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, the Friars won their second NIT title. With a 24–2 record in 1964–65, the number four ranked Friars reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. In 1966–67, Jimmy Walker led the nation in scoring and became the school's first 2,000-point scorer as well as the first New England player selected first overall in the NBA Draft. That season also marked the last in Mullaney's run of nine consecutive 20-win seasons. Two years later, Mullaney was hired as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA.

1969–1979: Gavitt era

Following Mullaney's departure, Dave Gavitt, an assistant under Mullaney who then became head coach at Dartmouth, took over as the Friars' head coach in 1969. In his second year, Gavitt began a string of eight consecutive 20-win seasons. For the 1972–73 season, the team began playing in downtown Providence at the brand-new 12,000-seat arena, the Providence Civic Center (renamed the Dunkin' Donuts Center in 2001). That season was the Friars' best to date; led by Ernie DiGregorio and Marvin Barnes, the team went on a 17-team game winning streak that ended in a Final Four loss to Memphis State. The next year, the Friars posted a 28–4 record and made their second straight Sweet Sixteen appearance. The team continued its top-flight status with back-to-back 20-win seasons in 1976–77 and 1977–78, earning NCAA Tournament bids each year, one coming after defeating top-ranked Michigan in 1976. After a 10–16 season in 1978–79, Gavitt left Providence to become the first commissioner of the Providence-based Big East Conference. He finished his 10-year career at Providence with a 209–84 (.713) record.

1979–1985: Mullaney returns

After spending the first six decades of their existence as an independent, the Friars joined the Big East in its inaugural season, 1979–80. The conference originally consisted of Providence, St. John's, Boston College, Syracuse, Georgetown, Seton Hall, and Connecticut. New head coach Gary Walters led the team to an 11–16 record in 1979–80, and was replaced by Mullaney in 1981. His next stint with the Friars would not be as successful, and consisted of only one winning season (1983–84, behind Otis Thorpe) against three losing.

1985–1987: Pitino era

In 1985, New York Knicks assistant coach Rick Pitino was hired as the latest Friars head coach. In his first season the Friars compiled a 17–14 record and made their fist NIT appearance in a decade. The next year, 1986–87, the Friars posted a 25–9 record behind Billy Donovan and made their second ever Final Four appearance in the 1987 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. After losing to Syracuse, Pitino left the school and re-joined the Knicks as their head coach in 1987.

1987–1998: Chiesa, Barnes, Gillen

File:Providence College Syracuse.jpg

In 1987–88, the Friars posted a losing record under new head coach Gordie Chiesa, who was replaced by Rick Barnes after the season. Behind Barnes and 2,000-point scorer Eric Murdock, the Friars made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 1989 and 1990, as well as an NIT bid in 1991. Following Murdock's departure and a losing season in 1991–92, the team had an NIT semifinal appearance in 1993 and an NCAA tournament appearance in 1994, while also capturing the school's first Big East Tournament title. Following back-to-back 20-win seasons, Barnes left to become the head coach at Clemson in 1994. He was replaced by Pete Gillen. Led by Eric Williams, the Friars made consecutive NIT appearances in 1995 and 1996. In 1996–97, the Friars posted a 24–12 record, led by Austin Croshere and Jamel Thomas. After defeating Duke in the 1997 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the Friars reached the Elite Eight before losing to eventual champion Arizona. Following a losing season in 1997–98, Gillen departed to become the head coach at Virginia.

1998–2008: Welsh era

Gillen was replaced by Iona head coach Tim Welsh in 1998. Led by Thomas, the Friars made an NIT bid in 1999. The team returned to the NCAA Tournament two years later, posting a 21–10 record behind John Linehan. While the Friars posted a losing record in Linehan's senior season in 2001–02, the guard broke Allen Iverson's single-season Big East steals record of 67 as well as Murdock's NCAA career steals record of 377. Led by Ryan Gomes, the Friars returned to the NIT with an 18–14 record in 2002–03 and made another NCAA appearance in 2003–04 with a 20–9 record. However, Welsh's next four teams, without Gomes after 2004–05, recorded one winning season, and Welsh was fired following the 2007–08 season.

2008–2011: Davis era

In 2008, the Friars hired Drake head coach Keno Davis, who won the National Coach of the Year Award in his first and only season as Drake's head coach. Davis' team posted a 19–14 record, including a win at home over top-ranked Pittsburgh, in 2008–09 en route to an NIT appearance. In 2009–10, Davis' team lost their final eleven games to finish 15th in the Big East. The Friars averaged 82 points per game, the fourth highest in Division I, while also surrendering 85 points per conference game, the worst statistical performance in Big East history. In Davis' third season, 2010–11, the Friars finished 14th in the conference despite having Division I's second-leading scorer in Marshon Brooks. Davis was fired after the 2010–11 season.

2011–present: Cooley era

In 2011, the Friars hired Fairfield head coach Ed Cooley, a Providence native, as their next head coach.


Season Overall Record Con. Record Coach Postseason Scoring Leader (ppg) Rebounding Leader (rpg) Assists Leader (apg)
1926–278–8 Archie Golembeski Hector Allen (7.3)
1927–287–9 Al McClellan John Krieger (9.9)
1928–2917–3 Al McClellan Eddie Wineapple (13.9)
1929–3015–4 Al McClellan John Krieger (10.7)
1930–3114–5 Al McClellan Allen Brachen (9.5)
1931–3219–5 Al McClellan Allen Brachen (9.4)
1932–3313–3 Al McClellan Allen Brachen (13.0)
1933–3412–5 Al McClellan Allen Brachen (9.9)
1934–3517–5 Al McClellan Bill Kutniewski (8.0)
1935–3614–7 Al McClellan Ed Bobinski (10.1)
1936–3712–10 Al McClellan Ed Bobinski (9.5)
1937–387–9 Al McClellan John Crowley (9.8)
1938–394–7 Ed Crotty Steve Fallon (10.1)
1939–405–9 Ed Crotty Joe Kwasniewski (9.7)
1940–4111–6 Ed Crotty John Lee (10.3)
1941–4213–7 Ed Crotty Ted McConnon (15.5)
1942–4315–5 Ed Crotty Ted McConnon (15.0)
1943–44 World War II
1944–455–7 Ed Crotty John Arzoomanian (19.7)
1945–465–12 Ed Crotty Henri Ethier (13.9)
1946–478–11 Lawrence Drew John Sullivan (8.2)
1947–4810–10 Lawrence Drew Ferdinand Sowa (10.7)
1948–497–9 Lawrence Drew Francis Pelligrino (8.5)
1949–5014–9 Vin Cuddy James Schlimm (15.5)
1950–5114–10 Vin Cuddy James Schlimm (15.7)
1951–5214–9 Vin Cuddy Robert Moran (18.0) James Schlimm (8.3)
1952–5311–11 Vin Cuddy Robert Moran (20.8) Robert Prendergast (7.8)
1953–5413–13 Vin Cuddy Robert Moran (16.0)
1954–559–12 Vin Cuddy Mike Pascale (17.8) John Ritch (14.2)
1955–5614–8 Joe Mullaney Mike Pascale (15.0) John Ritch (10.3)
1956–5715–9 Joe Mullaney John Ritch (14.4)
1957–5818–6 Joe Mullaney Lenny Wilkens (14.9) John Woods (8.4)
1958–5920–7 Joe MullaneyNIT Semifinals Johnny Egan (20.9) John Woods (9.6)
1959–6024–5 Joe MullaneyNIT Finals James Hadnot (14.8) James Hadnot (16.3)
1960–6124–5 Joe MullaneyNIT Champion James Hadnot (19.3) James Hadnot (16.4)
1961–6220–6 Joe MullaneyNIT 1st Round James Hadnot (18.3) James Hadnot (13.5) Vin Ernst (8.7)
1962–6324–4 Joe MullaneyNIT Champion Raymond Flynn & John Thompson (18.9) John Thompson (14.0)
1963–6420–6 Joe MullaneyNCAA 1st Round John Thompson (26.2) John Thompson (14.5)
1964–6524–2 Joe MullaneyNCAA Elite 8 Jimmy Walker (20.5) Dexter Westbrook (12.1) Jimmy Walker (5.2)
1965–6622–5 Joe MullaneyNCAA 1st Round Jimmy Walker (24.5) Michael Riordan (9.1) Jimmy Walker (5.5)
1966–6721–7 Joe MullaneyNIT Quarterfinals Jimmy Walker (30.4) Anthony Koski (11.2) Jimmy Walker (5.1)
1967–6811–14 Joe Mullaney Alphonse Hayes (15.6) Anthony Koski (11.2)
1968–6914–10 Joe Mullaney Jim Larranaga (19.4) Raymond Johnson (10.4)
1969–7014–11 Dave Gavitt Jim Larranaga (16.3) Raymond Johnson (10.4) Jim Larranaga (3.2)
1970–7120–8 Dave GavittNIT Quarterfinals Ernie DiGregorio (18.6) Nehru King (6.1) Ernie DiGregorio (6.5)
1971–7221–6 Dave GavittNCAA 1st Round Marvin Barnes (21.6) Marvin Barnes (15.7) Ernie DiGregorio (7.9)
1972–7327–4 Dave GavittNCAA Final Four Ernie DiGregorio (24.6) Marvin Barnes (19.0) Ernie DiGregorio (8.6)
1973–7428–4 Dave GavittNCAA Sweet 16 Marvin Barnes (22.1) Marvin Barnes (18.7) Kevin Stacom (5.3)
1974–7520–11 Dave GavittNIT Finals Joe Hassett (16.5) Bill Eason (7.9) Rick Santos (4.5)
1975–7621–11 Dave GavittNIT Semifinals Joe Hassett (17.0) Bruce Campbell (8.5) Bob Misevicius (4.8)
1976–7724–5 Dave GavittNCAA 1st Round Joe Hassett (18.8) Bruce Campbell (8.1) Dwight Williams (5.1)
1977–7824–8 Dave GavittNCAA 1st Round Bruce Campbell (17.4) Bill Eason (8.3) Bob Misevicius (5.5)
1978–7910–16 Dave Gavitt Rudy Williams (17.8) Rudy Williams (9.0) David Frye (5.0)
1979–8011–60–6Gary Walters Jerry Scott (14.9) Rudy Williams (7.6) Ricky Tucker (5.3)
1980–8110–183–11Gary Walters Rich Hunger (12.0) Rich Hunger (6.7) Jim Panaggio (3.9)
1981–8210–172–12Joe Mullaney Ron Jackson (16.2) Otis Thorpe (8.0) Jim Panaggio (4.0)
1982–8312–194–12Joe Mullaney Ron Jackson (18.3) Otis Thorpe (8.0) Ricky Tucker (6.1)
1983–8415–145–11Joe Mullaney Otis Thorpe (17.1) Otis Thorpe (10.3) Harold Starks (3.3)
1984–8511–203–13Joe Mullaney Donald Brown (9.5) Ray Knight (6.0) Harold Starks (3.8)
1985–8617–147–9Rick PitinoNIT Quarterfinals Billy Donovan (15.1) Steve Wright (7.3) Billy Donovan (4.7)
1986–8725–910–6Rick PitinoNCAA Final Four Billy Donovan (20.6) David Kipfer (5.3) Billy Donovan (7.2)
1987–8811–175–11Gordie Chiesa Delray Brooks (13.5) Steve Wright (6.5) Eric Murdock (3.8)
1988–8918–117–9Rick BarnesNCAA 1st Round Eric Murdock (16.2) Marty Conlon (7.0) Carlton Screen (6.8)
1989–9017–128–8Rick BarnesNCAA 1st Round Eric Murdock (15.4) Marty Conlon (7.5) Carlton Screen (7.0)
1990–9119–137–9Rick BarnesNIT Quarterfinals Eric Murdock (25.6) Marques Bragg (8.8) Eric Murdock (4.6)
1991–9214–176–12Rick Barnes Marques Bragg (11.3) Michael Smith (10.3) Trent Forbes (3.4)
1992–9320–139–9Rick BarnesNIT Semifinals Michael Smith (11.8) Michael Smith (11.4) Abdul Abdullah (5.7)
1993–9420–1010–8Rick BarnesNCAA 1st Round Eric Williams (15.7) Michael Smith (11.5) Abdul Abdullah (8.0)
1994–9517–137–11Pete GillenNIT 2nd Round Eric Williams (17.7) Troy Brown (7.9) Michael Brown (3.9)
1995–9618–129–9Pete GillenNIT 2nd Round Austin Croshere (15.3) Rubén Garcés (7.5) God Shammgod (6.5)
1996–9724–1210–8Pete GillenNCAA Elite 8 Austin Croshere (17.9) Rubén Garcés (7.8) God Shammgod (6.6)
1997–9813–167–11Pete Gillen Jamel Thomas (18.5) Jamel Thomas (6.9) Kendrick Moore (3.2)
1998–9916–149–9Tim WelshNIT 1st Round Jamel Thomas (22.0) Jamel Thomas (7.2) John Linehan (3.8)
1999–0011–194–12Tim Welsh Erron Maxey (14.8) Karim Shabazz (8.2) Abdul Mills (2.2)
2000–0121–1011–5Tim WelshNCAA 1st Round Erron Maxey (11.4) Karim Shabazz (7.4) John Linehan (3.9)
2001–0215–166–10Tim Welsh Abdul Mills (14.5) Ryan Gomes (7.8) John Linehan (4.4)
2002–0318–148–8Tim WelshNIT 2nd Round Ryan Gomes (18.4) Ryan Gomes (9.7) Donnie McGrath (4.3)
2003–0420–911–5Tim WelshNCAA 1st Round Ryan Gomes (18.9) Ryan Gomes (9.4) Donnie McGrath (3.4)
2004–0514–174–12Tim Welsh Ryan Gomes (21.6) Ryan Gomes (8.2) Donnie McGrath (3.8)
2005–0612–155–11Tim Welsh Donnie McGrath (15.1) Geoff McDermott (9.0) Sharaud Curry (3.5)
2006–0718–138–8Tim WelshNIT 1st Round Herbert Hill (18.1) Geoff McDermott (9.1) Geoff McDermott (5.1)
2007–0815–166–12Tim Welsh Jeff Xavier (12.4) Geoff McDermott (8.1) Geoff McDermott (4.9)
2008–0919–1410–8Keno DavisNIT 1st Round Weyinmi Efejuku (15.7) Geoff McDermott (8.5) Sharaud Curry (4.2)
2009–1012–194–14Keno Davis Jamine Peterson (19.6) Jamine Peterson (10.2) Vincent Council (4.5)
2010–1115–174–14Keno Davis Marshon Brooks (24.6) Marshon Brooks (7.0) Vincent Council (5.9)
2011–120–00–0Ed Cooley

Friars in the NBA

"Friars Legends"
Number Player Years Date

Coach Joe Mullaney 1955–69; 1981–85 January 6, 2007
Coach Dave Gavitt 1969–79 January 6, 2007
10 Vin Ernst 1960–63 February 19, 2011
14 Raymond Flynn 1960–63 February 19, 2011
14 Lenny Wilkens 1957–60 November 27, 1996
15 Ernie DiGregorio 1970–73 March 8, 2008
24 Marvin Barnes 1971–74 March 8, 2008
24 Jimmy Walker 1964–67 March 8, 2008
34 Johnny Egan 1958–61 February 21, 2009

Currently in NBA

All-time NBA Draft


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