NEW BRITAIN – After 13 seasons that included the most Division I victories in program history, CCSU women’s basketball head coach Beryl Piper is calling it a career.
The Blue Devils announced Piper’s retirement on Friday, and also named assistant coach Kerri Reaves as the interim head coach for the 2020-21 season.
"Coach Piper has raised the bar for women's basketball at CCSU and her impact on the program will be clear for years to come," CCSU president Dr. Zulma Toro said in Friday’s press release. "She will always be a Blue Devil, and I wish Coach Piper health and happiness in her retirement and thank her for her many years of commitment to CCSU."
Piper became the head coach in 2007, and her 150 career victories at the helm of CCSU is more than any other women’s basketball coach in Division I competition. A 1987 graduate of CCSU, Piper is one of just 12 former women’s basketball members elected in the CCSU Alumni Athletics Hall of Fame.
“This is a day for us to celebrate and honor her in everything that she’s done here in her career, not just as a coach but as a student-athlete,” interim athletic director Tom Pincine said of Piper. “She did a great job for us, and brought our D-I program to places it hadn’t been before. This is a day to thank her for that.”
During her tenure with the Blue Devils, Piper led the team to five Northeast Conference Tournament semifinals appearances, most recently in 2017, and coached in two WNIT appearances (2009 and 2015). Piper’s team struggled to open the 2019-20 campaign, winning just one game before Piper was put on administrative leave while the athletic department did a full assessment of the women’s basketball program. Reaves took Piper’s place in January, making Piper’s final game as head coach a two-point loss to LIU on Jan. 13.
“It’s her decision to retire,” Pincince said. “I know we went through things during the season but it was her choice to retire…but this is a chance for us to say thank you to her and honor her for what she’s done.
Piper’s best seasons came in 2010-11 and 2014-15, winning 19 games both seasons, the most for the program in its Division I history. She arrived as coach with the Blue Devils after an illustrious career at New Britain High School, where she won 289 games and three state championships. She was inducted into the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame.