November 30, 2022 

UMass head coach Tory Verdi extended through 2026-27

What Verdi’s extension means for the Minutewomen

On Nov. 29, UMass director of athletics Ryan Bamford announced that head coach Tory Verdi’s contract was extended through the 2026-27 season. 

“It just means that our administration is continuing the investment in our program,” Verdi told The Next. “And I think that when you look at the body of work the last six years where the program was and where it is now, it’s obvious that we made improvements in all facets … not just on the court, but off the court as well, academically.”

He later added, “By no means have I done this all by myself…. It takes a village and I’m just proud of the administration, their support, and then obviously, everybody who was involved within our program.

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In Verdi’s first season at the helm, 2016-17, the Minutewomen went 9-21 and finished second to last in the A-10. In two of the last three seasons, the team tied (2019-20) and broke (2021-22) the record for most wins in a season. Last season, Sam Breen became the first Atlantic 10 Player of the Year from UMass.

The extension comes less than nine months after Verdi led the Minutewomen to their first A-10 tournament championship and first NCAA tournament berth since 1998. As a part of last year’s historic season, for the first time since the 1994-95 season, the program received votes in a national poll. 

On the road to their conference championship, the Minutewomen led the A-10 in points per game (71.7) and were second in field goal percentage (43.9%), rebounds (40.0), steals (7.8) and assists per game (14.6) last season.

“We are pleased to extend Coach Verdi in recognition of his continued achievements since arriving at UMass in 2016,” Bamford said in a team-issued press release. “The future is bright under his leadership. Due to the solid foundation he and his staff have built, our women’s basketball program is poised to contend for championships and excel in the classroom well into the future.”

Verdi is in his seventh season at UMass after stops with the Connecticut Sun, Columbia, Nebraska, Kansas and Eastern Michigan and when he took the job, he was told he couldn’t turn the program around. 

He views this contract extension as the beginning of a new era centered around sustaining success, which he believes can only be done by continuing to do the things that got the team there in the first place. 

Throughout the rest of his contract, Verdi hopes to continue to win championships, graduate players and not only break into the top 25 teams in the country but remain there. UMass received two votes in this week’s AP Poll and four votes in this week’s WBCA poll. 

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“I truly believe it’s special. We’ve done something that’s never been done before,” Verdi said. “And when I took this job I was told that it couldn’t be done and I truly believed in myself first of all because that’s really hard to do. And we just wanted to get better each and every single day and that was our mentality.”

He later added, “ I think that when I look back at it, it wasn’t easy; it was really, really hard. And to take a program that was below ground zero and build it into a championship-caliber program is truly meaningful. But again it took a lot of people and we got a lot of support and we want to continue to sustain that now.”

Written by Natalie Heavren

Natalie Heavren has been a contributor to The Next since February 2019 and currently writes about the Atlantic 10 conference, the WNBA and the WBL.

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