A new era in St. Francis Brooklyn women’s basketball history has begun as Linda Cimino was named the 13th head women’s basketball coach in Terrier history by Director of Athletics Irma Garcia. A formal press-conference was held at the College on Monday.
A familiar face to the Tri-State Area, Cimino brings passion, pride and commitment with her as she enters the gold doors on Remsen Street.
“We could not have asked for a better individual to lead our Women’s Basketball Program,” stated St. Francis College Director of Athletics, Irma Garcia. “Linda embodies so many of the values we pride ourselves in here at St. Francis College. We are excited to see her continue the high standard of excellence Coach Thurston and his staff brought to our Women’s Basketball program. Her commitment to encourage female athletes to succeed on the court and in the classroom, as well as her mentoring of each player to become well-rounded members of their communities are what we most look forward to as she joins our Terrier community. Linda’s success on the court will continue to be evident through her deeply rooted understanding of our Franciscan Mission of hospitality and fulfilling one’s life purpose. We are excited to have her join our St. Francis College Family and cannot wait for this next chapter of Terrier Women’s Basketball.”
Cimino’s positive energy and relentless work ethic changed the culture at Binghamton University (America East) over the past four years, both on and off the court. Known for her passion and enthusiasm, Cimino, who will replace the retired John Thurston, considers player development, strong recruiting and building relationships key ingredients in constructing a winner. Her leadership style re-ignited a sense of energy and pride at Binghamton.
Linda Cimino is excited to return to a familiar area with familiar faces. “I am thrilled to come back to the NYC metro area, a place where I have spent most of my career and to work under the leadership of Irma Garcia, a person who has been a mentor to me. I fully embrace the Franciscan mission of St. Francis College as I am deeply connected to my faith and look forward to developing strong, well-rounded leaders who will serve from their hearts. I’m eager to bring my personality and style of play to Brooklyn and continue to build upon the success of this program.”
“Having someone of Linda’s caliber as a proven competitor on the court join our family is an incredible advantage for the Women’s Basketball Program and entire St. Francis College Community,” said St. Francis College President Miguel Martinez-Saenz. “Her experience as both a Head Coach and Administrator shows her commitment not only to the game of Women’s Basketball, but to providing opportunities for students to succeed in life. St. Francis College continues to be a transformative environment for our students to learn from one another and lead as engaged members of society. We are excited to welcome Linda Cimino as our Head Women’s Basketball Coach and are confident she will inspire all those around her to continue living and succeeding through our Franciscan mission.”
In the last three seasons, the Bearcats have averaged 15+ wins and have played at or above .500 in conference play each year. This past season, the Bearcats received a bid to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI), marking the first time that program reached a national postseason tournament since Binghamton moved up to NCAA Division I prior to the 2001-02 season. Playing in their first-ever Division I national postseason game, Binghamton won 70-59 at Youngstown State in the opening round of the WBI. It was a historic win for the Bearcats in more ways than one. Binghamton finished with 20 wins for the first time since the 2000-01 season, the year before it moved up to the NCAA Division I level. Binghamton also boasted the America East Player of the Year Imani Watkins, who set the schools all-time scoring record.
In 2017-2018, Binghamton was included among the top 50 teams in several categories. As a team, Binghamton was ranked ninth in the nation with 5.9 blocks per game. It was also 24th in field goal percentage defense (.362), 34th in scoring defense (57.4 ppg.) and 47th in steals (9.9 spg.).
Peers have taken notice of Cimino as she was named the 2016 America East Coach of the Year. Binghamton was picked to finish last in the America East Conference in 2015-16 but under Cimino’s guidance, it finished in a three-way tie for third place. The Bearcats won their most games (14) and most conference games (eight) since the 2010-11 season, putting Binghamton amongst the most improved teams in the NCAA. At the America East Tournament, Binghamton advanced to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2011.
Maureen Magarity, the current Head Coach at the University of New Hampshire knows Linda well. “Linda is one of the most energetic and passionate people I know. Her players shine under her leadership and it always impressed me how hard they play for her. I will miss her in the America East but I’m so happy for her return to a place she loves, NYC!”
As a coach who focuses on player development, Cimino takes great pride in working with her players to reach their full potential. Most notably, Kim Albrecht had two breakout seasons under Cimino’s guidance, capping her career as a NCAA statistical champion in which she led the country in free throw percentage (91.4). This was the first statistical champion in Binghamton basketball history. In addition, Alyssa James earned the America East Defensive Player of the Year three times and set both the school and conference record in blocks.
Her first year with the Bearcats saw a program best two players named to the America East All-Rookie Team, including the America East Rookie of the Year.
The team’s ability to shoot the ball significantly improved under her guidance as the team finished first in the America East in free throw percentage (.720) after finishing last the season prior to her arrival. The team also finished third in the conference in three-point field goal percentage after finishing sixth the previous season.
Cimino arrived at Binghamton after a successful eight-year run as the head coach at Caldwell University. Her strong ability to connect with and motivate her players played a significant role in her rebuilding the Cougar program. She is the program’s all-time leader in wins with a 128-100 (.561) overall record. This includes a 90-52 (.633) mark in her final five years at the helm, averaging 18 wins a season after Caldwell went 39-71 in the four years prior to her tenure. In only her second year with Caldwell, her team was recognized as one of the most improved teams in the country.
In 2010-11, Cimino led the Cougars to their most successful season in the program’s history. She guided the program to the most wins in their history (21), broke the mark for win percentage (.778), made the program’s first appearance in the national rankings and won the Central Athletic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Regular Season Championship.
In addition to the 2010-11 championship, Caldwell shared the CACC title in 2012-13 while also going 15-4 in conference play and rattling off a school record 15 consecutive wins. In both 2012-13 and 2013-14, Caldwell advanced to the CACC Tournament championship game. Furthermore, Caldwell earned a bid to the ECAC Division II Tournament twice during her career.
Cimino was able to attract high caliber student-athletes to Caldwell that paid off for both her team and the student-athletes. She recruited and coached three CACC and two ECAC Rookie of the Year players, as well as two CACC Players of the Year and two Division II All-Americans.
Under Cimino’s watch, Caldwell was just as successful in the classroom. Thirteen different players were selected to the CACC’s All-Academic Team, and during the 2013-14 season, the overall team GPA was a 3.4.
Away from the court, Cimino has had an equally impactful career as an athletics administrator. In addition to her success as Caldwell’s head coach, Cimino was the Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator all eight years. She oversaw facilities, game-day operations and scheduling for all Caldwell programs, in addition to serving as the sport administrator for all of the women’s teams. Cimino was also heavily involved in Caldwell’s Cougar Pride Booster Club, oversaw the Student Athlete Advisory Club (SAAC) and coordinated the athletic department’s community outreach program. In 2011, she was selected to participate in the NCAA’s Women and Minorities Mentor Program.
Among her committee work, she was recently appointed to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee. She has served on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional Advisory Committee (East Region), in which she was also a NCAA site representative for two regional tournaments. She also served on the NCAA Division II USA Today Coaches Poll Committee and WBCA National Coach of the Year Award Committee. At Binghamton, Cimino was selected to take part in the pilot WBCA Mentoring Program.
Prior to arriving at Caldwell, Cimino was a health education teacher in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District for five years. During that span she was as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Adelphi University after previously serving as the head girls’ varsity basketball coach at Calhoun High School for three seasons. She began her college coaching career at the age of 22 as the head coach at Queensborough Community College, where she led the team to the CUNY championship game in 2002.
A member of Adelphi’s basketball program from 1997 to 2000, Cimino still appears on the Panthers’ all-time lists for free throw percentage and three-point field goal percentage. As a player, Cimino built a reputation for being a clutch performer. She also holds the program record for most three-pointers in a game.
A native of Lincoln, R.I., Cimino was All-State in both basketball and softball at North Smithfield High School. She graduated from Adelphi in 2001 with a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education and her Master’s degree in Health Education from Adelphi in 2004.
Cimino inherits a Terrier team that finished a program high 3rd in the Northeast Conference standings. Second team All-Conference guard Jade Johnson enjoyed a breakout sophomore season and is expected to remain as one of the top players in the league over the next two years. In the classroom, the program has finished among the top four in the WBCA Division I Women’s Basketball Academic Top 25 list for the past four seasons.