Bryant Introduces Alum Lynne-Ann Kokoski as New Women’s Basketball Coach
Bryant University Vice President Athletics and Recreation Bill Smith announced today (April 14) that Lynne-Ann Kokoski ’08, ’10 has been named the head women’s basketball coach. Kokoski becomes the fourth head coach in program history, replacing Mary Burke who led the program for 32 years.
Kokoski returns to her alma mater, becoming the first alum to be named a head coach at Bryant University since Jon Sjogren was named the head baseball coach in 1991.
Kokoski was formally introduced Friday morning in a press conference held in the Bulldog Room.
“I am incredibly excited to welcome Lynne-Ann back home,” Smith said. “This is a slam dunk hire for our women’s basketball program and for our entire Bryant community. Coach Kokoski bleeds Black and Gold and we believe her passion, energy and winning pedigree will not only lead to wins on the court but continue to develop outstanding young women that will succeed after graduation.”
Kokoski returns home after spending the last 11 seasons on the sidelines at the University of Massachusetts (A-10), William & Mary (CAA) and Providence College (Big East). She started her coaching career at Bryant, serving as an assistant from 2009-12. Most recently, Kokoski has spent the last four seasons at UMass, serving as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator, helping the Minutewomen reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.
“We are thrilled to welcome Lynne-Ann Kokoski back to Bryant University as the new coach of the women’s basketball team. Coach Kokoski brings a depth of experience, knowledge, and passion to our program,” said President Ross Gittell, Ph.D. “We are confident that Coach Kokoski will continue to build upon the proud tradition of Bulldog basketball. Her leadership, dedication to the sport, and commitment to our athletes’ personal growth and development make her the ideal choice to lead our women’s basketball team to new heights.”
UMass won 89 games in four seasons with Kokoski on staff, including a program-record 27 games this past winter. The Minutewomen won 20 games for the first time in program history in Kokoski’s first season on the bench in 2019-20. In 2021-22, the team won the Atlantic-10 Tournament Championship and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. This past season, UMass won the A-10 Regular-Season crown and competed in the WNIT.
Kokoski worked as the offensive coordinator at UMass, helping the team rank in the top 50 nationally in scoring during her time in Amherst. A standout point guard during her time playing for Bryant, Kokoski oversaw the development of UMass point guard Destiney Philoxy who earned three all-conference honors in Kokoski’s four years. Sam Breen also shined with Kokoski on staff, earning back-to-back A-10 Player of the Year honors before being named the 2023 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year.
“I could not be more thrilled to have this opportunity to lead Bryant University Women’s Basketball,” Kokoski said. “I want to thank President Gittell, Athletic Director Bill Smith and Senior Womens Administrator Nicole Lambert for this opportunity to come back to my alma mater. Bryant University has always held a special place in my heart. I look forward to bringing new excitement to the program and making the alums proud!”
At Bryant, Kokoski was a four-year letterwinner under Mary Burke. She helped the Bulldogs win 20 games and a Northeast-10 Championship as a senior in 2008. Kokoski graduated third all-time in assists with 385, including a school record 213 during her senior year. She also ranks sixth all-time with 161 steals.
The Minutewomen won a program record 27 games and an Atlantic-10 Regular Season Championship in 2022-23, Kokoski’s fourth year with the team. UMass was selected for a national postseason tournament for the third-straight year, advancing to the second round of the WNIT. Sam Breen was named the 2023 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year, the 2023 ECAC Player of the Year and the 2023 A-10 Player of the Year.
In just Kokoski’s third year, 2021-22, the Minutewomen shattered glass ceilings and broke records, as the program garnered its first Atlantic 10 Championship Title to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for the first appearance since 1998. On March 5, 2022, UMass topped Saint Joseph’s for Verdi’s 100th win at the helm of Massachusetts to advance to the A-10 Finals. The No. 3-seeded Minutewomen defeated No. 1 seed Dayton in the Title Game to hoist the A-10 trophy. On March 19, 2022, the team made its appearance in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. In addition to a successful postseason, UMass tallied the most wins in program history after finishing 26-7 overall on the year.
Breen earned the program’s first A-10 Player of the Year honor and added the league’s All-Conference First Team and All-Academic Team to her list of honors. She also was named the A-10 Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and tabbed a spot on the All-Championship Team, as well, as garnering CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. Junior Sydney Taylor joined Breen on the All-Championship Team, while Taylor and senior Destiney Philoxy were also named to the A-10 All-Conference Second Team.
In Kokoski’s second season, 2020-21, UMass enjoyed a year for the record books capped by its first postseason run since 1998. The squad reached the Atlantic 10 Championship game for the first time since ’98 as well, before receiving a bid to the WNIT. Placed into the Charlotte Regional, the Maroon and White won multiple postseason games, a first for the program.
Philoxy, along with Breen and Taylor, were named to the Atlantic 10 All-Championship Team. Philoxy completed the season averaging 6.5 assists per game, tied for fifth in the country. Philoxy was a mainstay at guard in all 24 games on the season and was placed on the A-10 All-Conference Second Team.
Kokoski’s first year with the Minutewomen was one to be remembered for a slew of team and individual performances. The Minutewomen tied a program record with 20 wins, set a new top mark with an 11-game winning streak and finished tied for fourth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference, the highest under the league’s current alignment. Massachusetts hosted, and won, an A-10 Tournament game at the Mullins Center for the first time since 1998, en route to the league Quarterfinals.
William & Mary Highlights
At William & Mary (2016-19), Kokoski worked with the guards and helped orchestrate two of the most successful seasons in program history In 2018-19, the Tribe reached the CAA Quarterfinals and graduated a senior class that tied for the most wins (66) in program history. Kokoski was also instrumental in recruiting standout point guard Eva Hodgson, who was named 2019 CAA Rookie of the Year.
W&M posted its second consecutive winning season in 2017-18, during which Kokoski tutored guards Bianca Boggs and Jenna Green toward breakout seasons. Boggs led the CAA in scoring at 15.2 points per game and became the first Tribe player in a decade to earn All-CAA First Team recognition. Green had a career year, setting individual single-season bests in points, rebounds and assists in addition to top program marks in both single-season and career assists.
In Kokoski’s inaugural campaign in 2016-17, the Tribe tied a school record with 20 wins and won a CAA Tournament game for the first time in eight years. Green, who dished out 136 assists and 4.4 dimes per game, picked up CAA All-Academic laurels and senior Marlena Tremba was named All-CAA Second Team, CAA All-Academic and VaSID All-State Second Team. W&M also had the longest winning streak in program history, picking up 11 straight victories from Nov. 18, 2016-Jan. 2, 2017.
Prior to joining the Tribe, Kokoski was director of operations at Providence College for four seasons (2012-16). Her daily responsibilities included travel planning, video breakdown, academic oversight and community outreach. She was honored in 2015 as recipient of Providence Athletics’ “Gung Ho Award” for her passion and service to the department.
Kokoski graduated magna cum laude from Bryant University in 2008 and earned her MBA from Bryant in 2010. She was a four-year member of the women’s basketball team from 2004-08. The heart of the Bulldogs, Kokoski was a solo captain her senior year, she led the team to a 20 win season, the NE-10 Conference Championship and the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Kokoski was also the recipient of the Omar Shareef Spirit Award.
About Bryant University
For 160 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education with top 1% outcomes that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. The university delivers a uniquely integrated academic and student life experience with nationally recognized academic programs at the intersection of business, liberal arts, and health and behavioral sciences.
Located on a 428-acre contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant enrolls approximately 3,800 undergraduate and graduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a top 1% national leader in student education outcomes and ROI, and regularly receives high rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, College Factual and Barron’s. Bryant.edu