July 18, 2013

Sacred Heart Hires Hartford Assistant Jon Basti

from LaxMagazine.com staff reports | Twitter

Sacred Heart coach Jon Basti
© Hartford

Sacred Heart on Thursday announced that it has hired Hartford associate head coach Jonathan Basti to be the Pioneers' new head men's lacrosse coach.

New Sacred Heart executive director of athletics Bobby Valentine, the former New York Mets and Boston Red Sox manager, made the announcement.

"I'm very excited to have Jonathan as our new head men's lacrosse coach," Valentine said. "I think he'll bring a quality that will inspire and teach our men not only the game of lacrosse but the game of life."

Basti had been Hartford's associate head coach of the last five seasons.

"I was very humbled and privileged to be offered this position," Basti said. "I'm very excited about the things we can do here in the future. I think there is a lot of potential for us to do a lot of great things and compete both in the Northeast Conference as well as nationally."

Basti takes the helm of a program that reached the postseason for the first time since 2001 this past season. Sacred Heart reached the NEC Tournament with a 3-2 conference record, it's best conference record since the NEC started men's lacrosse.

"There's momentum here," Basti said. "It's a situation where we have to build on where we were. It takes a lot of hard work from a lot of people. It takes the student-athletes in your program doing the right things, recruiting good people, and also having the assistant coaches working hand-in-hand with you and the athletes to make sure everything's going in the right direction. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I'm very confident that we're going to be able to be successful."

During his tenure at Hartford, the Hawks won their first-ever America East Championship and earned their first NCAA Tournament berth in 2011. Under Basti's guidance, faceoff specialist Tim Fallon became the fourth Hartford Hawk to be named a Division I All-American and the first player in program history to be a repeat All-American. Fallon led the nation in 2010 with 9.4 ground balls per game and a 62.2 faceoff percentage.

"I couldn't be happier for Jon being appointed the new head coach of the Pioneers and wish him the best of luck," Hartford head coach Peter Lawrence said. "He has made a huge impact on rebuilding the program here at Hartford and his presence will definitely be missed."

Basti now returns to where his coaching career began. He was an assistant coach at Sacred Heart from 2000-02, working with the face-off and defensive units. Basti then was the head coach at Eastern Connecticut State from 2002-04, leading ECSU to two Little East Conference titles and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.

"Jon Basti has impressed me in so many ways since the day I met him," Denver head coach Bill Tierney said. "Whether it's teaching 12-year-old campers, tirelessly working the summer recruiting trails, mentoring young coaches, or passionately coaching his own teams, Jon displays energy and astute knowledge of the game. Jon has been a loyal assistant and I believe he is ready to be a very successful Division I head coach. Jon will give Sacred Heart everything he has to ensure his student-athletes a meaningful experience in the classroom and on the lacrosse field. Congratulations to Bobby Valentine for choosing such a great young man."

A 1999 graduate of Fairfield University with degrees in both politics and history, Basti was a member of the Stags' 1996 and 1997 MAAC championship teams. He also helped Fairfield to a MAAC regular season title and two ECAC Tournament titles. Basti returned to his alma mater in 2005 and was an assistant coach for three seasons. In 2005, the Stags were ranked as high as 15th in the national polls and won the Great Western Lacrosse League championship. He then spent one year at Lafayette before moving on to Hartford.

"I am very happy for Jon; he has worked hard to get to this point in his career, and I expect that he is going to do great things in the next several years at Sacred Heart," Loyola head coach Charley Toomey said. "Jon is a great person and coach and a good friend, and I am thrilled for him to be in the head coaching ranks."

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