The Bulldogs have made coaching additions and rounded out their schedule. PIC: Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
Just three months out from the start of the 2023-24 season, we're finding more about Bryant's active offseason. Between departures of all-conference players and "founding coaches" to the Jared Grasso era, there's been an element of re-tooling for the Bryant Bulldogs in the upcoming season.
Among the most considerable of updates this season pertains to coaching. The Bulldogs have not had much turnover on the coaches' bench since Jared Grasso took over in the 2018-19 season, as their core group of Phil Martelli Jr. and Chris Cole embarks on their sixth season with the Bulldogs - their first associate head coach, Brock Erickson, was purged by Nichols College (D2) in 2021 for their head coaching position. Eamonn Mahar, who started as the program's director of basketball operations in 2018, worked his way to an assistant coaching position in 2020; he announced he's leaving the Bryant program to pursue a career in sales at youth showcase company The Hoop Group.
Grasso got to work in filling Mahar's vacant assistant coach role, as well as other roles that have typically been filled seasonally. Notably, per reports, former Providence standout Sharaud Curry will take over as Director of Player Development after spending the better part of the past 13 years pursuing a professional career in Europe. Brett Putz will join the staff as an assistant coach; the former standout at St. Cloud State has spent the past ten years in both assistant and head coaching roles at the JUCO, D2, and D1 levels, winning a D2 national championship with Des Moines Area Community College and spending a year on Josh Schertz's staff at Indiana State. Brendan Phelps, who spent a year as the head coach of Berlin High School in Connecticut, announced he will also join the bench as an assistant coach. Chris Fischer, who spent four years managing the Fairfield University men's and women's teams, takes over a role previously occupied by former NBA starter Chris Duhon as the Director of Basketball Innovation and Advancement.
While Grasso has not formally announced the 2023-24 schedule, other schools have tipped their hand with the release of theirs, as well as some confirmations from the team.
According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, Bryant will have at least three guarantee-games this season. One of the Bulldogs' first contests will be against Rutgers on November 12th in Piscataway, NJ. Bryant and Rutgers have squared off three times since 2008, most recently in 2019 where the Bulldogs nearly pulled off an upset, but lost 73-71. They'll also take on Xavier in a buy-game on November 24, the day after Thanksgiving. Rothstein reported today that Cincinnati will also host the Bulldogs on Tuesday, December 12 at Fifth Third Arena.
Bryant will also have at least a few high-profile regional games. They'll take on Brown in their annual home-and-home on December 1, just a day before the coveted Providence-URI matchup at the Amica Mutual Pavilion. They'll look to rebound from a tough loss at home last year, and dig out of their 3-11 hole to the Brown Bears. After beating Towson last year in a home contest before Christmas, they'll reprise their matchup in a neutral-site contest at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York on December 16. Bryant also plans to take on Boston University; it would be the first time the schools have faced off in their D1 histories. The matchup is slated for November 16th in Boston.