Hatfield native Lynne-Ann Kokoski introduced as new Bryant University women’s basketball coach


Staff Writer

Published: 04-14-2023 11:42 AM

Lynne-Ann Kokoski’s basketball journey has taken yet another step.

The Hatfield native and former Smith Academy star was officially hired as the new head coach of the Bryant University women’s basketball program on Friday. It’s the first Division 1 head coaching job for Kokoski, who played at Bryant before graduating in 2008 and spent three years there as an assistant.

Kokoski was introduced by the school at a press conference Friday in Smithfield, R.I.

“This is an absolute dream come true,” she said at the presser.

Kokoski had been on staff at UMass since 2019, working under former women’s basketball coach Tory Verdi for the past four seasons before he left for Pittsburgh earlier this month. Mike Leflar was promoted to be the Minutewomen’s new head coach earlier this week. Prior to UMass, Kokoski was on staff at Providence College and William & Mary.

“I could not be more thrilled to have this opportunity to lead Bryant University Women's Basketball," Kokoski said in a Bryant-issued press release. “I want to thank President Gittell, Athletic Director Bill Smith and Senior Women’s Administrator Nicole Lambert for this opportunity to come back to my alma mater.”

Kokoski replaces her former coach, Mary Burke, who stepped down last month after 32 years as Bryant’s head coach. The school has had just three head coaches in its history prior to Kokoski.

“I am incredibly excited to welcome Lynne-Ann back home,” Bryant Vice President of Athletics and Recreation Bill 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." 

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As a player at Bryant, Kokoski helped the Bulldogs to a Northeast-10 title as a senior in 2008. She dished out a school-record 213 assists that season, and graduated with the third-most assists in program history (385).

Kokoski served as the offensive coordinator at UMass, which won 89 games in her four season on staff. That included a 2021-22 Atlantic 10 Tournament title and subsequent trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Minutewomen won the A-10 regular season championship this past year before falling in the A-10 tourney title game to Saint Louis.

Bryant has struggled in recent seasons, and hasn’t posted a winning record since 2016-17. Last season, the Bulldogs were just 9-21, playing in the America East Conference for the first time after transitioning from the Northeast Conference (NEC).

“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 Bryant President Ross Gittell. “We are confident that Coach Kokoski will continue to build upon the proud tradition of Bulldog basketball.”

Kokoski scored 2,124 points during her standout career at Smith Academy. She graduated in 2004 and was a McDonald's All-American Nominee her senior season.