|Alma Mater:||New Hampshire|
Paul Cormier rejoined the Dartmouth men’s basketball team as head coach in April 2010. After spending most of the previous 12 years working with NBA organizations, most recently as an advance scout for the Golden State Warriors, Cormier is now in the sixth season of his second stint with the Big Green having served as the head coach for seven seasons previously (1984-91).
Cormier, 63, has spent 19 years as a Division I head coach, splitting his time between Dartmouth and Fairfield while earning a combined 218 wins. Two of Cormier’s Big Green squads posted two of the three winningest seasons at Dartmouth of the past 50 years — the 1987-88 team went 18-8 overall and 10-4 in the Ivy League (missing a share of the Ivy title after a one-point loss in the final game of the season), while the 1988-89 team went 17-9 overall with an identical 10-4 mark in conference play, just one game back in the Ivy standings.
Cormier is on his way to bringing success back to the hardwood in Hanover, having led the Big Green to their first postseason appearance in 56 years during the 2014-15 campaign. Led by All-Ivy League second-teamers Gabas Maldunas and Alex Mitola, as well as Ivy Rookie of the Year Miles Wright, Dartmouth won its final five regular-season contests to finish at .500 overall and in the Ivy League standings, placing fourth to earn a bid to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
The road to success has been an arduous path as Cormier has incrementally advanced the team in the league standings. The 2013-14 squad won its final three games to tie for sixth place with a 5-9 mark in the Ivy League standings, despite playing the conference slate without Maldunas. The previous season, Maldunas was selected to the All-Ivy League Second Team in leading the Big Green to victories in three of their last four contests to pull into a tie for sixth.
The 2011-12 iteration of the Big Green may have only won five games, but three players in the freshmen class — Jvonte Brooks, John Golden and Maldunas — won a total of 10 Rookie of the Week awards from the league during the season.
After his initial campaign at Dartmouth in 1984-85, Cormier’s Big Green teams went 73-57 over the next five years, including 40-30 in the Ivy League. He is the only coach since 1960 to lead the Big Green to consecutive second-place finishes in the conference. One of his first recruits for Dartmouth was Jim Barton ’89, the Green’s all-time leading scorer (2,158 points) and three-point shooter (242 total, 45.4 percent).
At Fairfield, Cormier built upon his successes at Dartmouth, building the Stags up to a 20-win team by his fifth year in 1995-96 as they won a share of the MAAC regular-season crown. After losing a tough-fought MAAC Tournament championship game, Fairfield was awarded an NIT bid and hosted Providence in the opening round. Injuries plagued the favored Stags the following year, but they got healthy in time for the conference tournament, sweeping the three games to earn the school’s third trip to the NCAA Tournament. Paired up against North Carolina as a 16-seed, Fairfield gave the Tar Heels (who eventually advanced to the Final Four) all they could handle before falling, 82-74.
Cormier made his foray into the NBA in 1998, serving as a scout and assistant video coordinator for the Eastern Conference Champion New York Knicks for one year. Two years later, he joined the Boston Celtics as an assistant coach and head advance scout. After five years with the Celtics, he joined the coaching staff of the Memphis Grizzlies for one year, then was hired by the New Jersey Nets as an advance scout and summer league assistant coach for two years. In his final year, Cormier was the Eastern advance and collegiate scout for the Golden State Warriors.
The Massachusetts native has never strayed far from his coaching roots. Cormier has served as a skills instructor and lecturer at various basketball camps over the past six years, including Five Star, Nike National Elite and the Orlando NBA pre-draft camp in 2007. And for the past 21 years, he has been the director of the Mid-Cape Hoop School in Cape Cod, Mass.
“Paul Cormier’s hiring is an absolute home run for Dartmouth,” said former University of Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun. “He has an incredible basketball IQ and there is no person that would fit better for Dartmouth. The game of college basketball is better today because of this hiring, not only for Paul’s coaching ability, but because he is a great person as well.”
Prior to his first head-coaching job at Dartmouth, Cormier was an assistant coach at Villanova under Rollie Massimino — his high school coach at Lexington (Mass.) — for four years (1980-84). He was on the bench for the Wildcats’ runs to the Elite Eight in 1981 and ’83 as well as the Sweet Sixteen in 1982. But his lasting legacy at the school comes with his involvement in recruiting the entire squad that went on to win the 1985 NCAA Championship.
Cormier got his start in collegiate coaching as an assistant at Bentley College for two years (1978-80), helping the Falcons attain a national number-one ranking for Division II along the way.
A 1974 graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a degree in health studies, Cormier went on to work as a junior varsity coach at Newmarket (N.H.) High School before taking the head coaching job at Concord (N.H.) High School for three years (1975-78). A standout athlete, Cormier was a four-year letterwinner on both the basketball and baseball teams and was drafted by three different Major League Baseball organizations. He pitched for two years in the Cleveland Indians organization, earning a 5-5 record with a 4.09 ERA in the minors in 22 relief appearances. Cormier returned to UNH to earn his master’s in educational administration and supervision in 1980.
The search committee for Dartmouth’s men’s basketball coach worked closely with an Alumni Advisory Committee chaired by the late Dave Gavitt ’59, the founder of the Big East Conference. Previously the head coach at both Dartmouth and Providence, Gavitt also coached the U.S. Olympic team, served as President of USA Basketball and CEO of the Boston Celtics, and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
“I’m very excited about Paul Cormier’s appointment,” Gavitt commented upon the hire. “He was very successful in his first stint coaching at Dartmouth, and I believe he brings even more expertise to the job now, given his professional experience.”
Cormier and his wife, Susan, currently reside in Grantham, N.H., and have four sons — Matthew, Jonathan, Chris and James (currently an assistant coach for the Big Green).