CHRIS MOONEY ON ESPN'S JIM ROME IS BURNING (2011):
CHRIS MOONEY ON ESPN'S FIRST TAKE (2010):
CHRIS MOONEY ON ESPN'S JIM ROME IS BURNING (2010):
When Richmond athletic director Jim Miller announced the hiring of Chris Mooney as head coach of the Spiders on May 6, 2005, he said Mooney would "attract student-athletes who make the community proud, while sustaining Richmond's place among the Atlantic 10 elite."
Even before Richmond won its first Atlantic 10 Championship in March of 2011, Mooney proved his boss right But it did not happen overnight. Mooney inherited a program with just seven scholarship players and no guards. It was clear that the Philly native had a bigger challenge than sustaining success. He had to create some from scratch.
It is clear he has attracted student-athletes who make the community proud and he has the Spiders not only among the Atlantic 10's elite, but among the nation's elite with back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2011. The Spiders broke into the Top-25 for the first time in 24 years and the 2nd time in 52 years in 2009-10 and finished the season ranked No. 24 in the AP Poll. In 2010-11, Richmond finished the year ranked No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
In 2010-11, the Spiders matched the 1987-88 team for the most wins in school history and this year Richmond set the mark outright with 29 wins.
In 2009-10, the Spiders finished 13-3 in Atlantic 10 play, a two-point double-overtime loss at Xavier shy of winning the regular-season title and reached the A-10 title game, losing to Temple by just four points. Mooney was named 2010 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year by Sporting News and was one of 15 finalists for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award. And then the Spiders went out in 2010-11 and duplicated their 13-3 in A-10 play, finishing third in the standings and earning a conference tournament bye for the third time in four years. Richmond reached the A-10 title game for the second-straight season this March, this time winning the Championship.
In 2009-10, the Spiders picked up wins over defending Big 12 Champion Missouri and defending SEC Champion Mississippi State on back-to-back days to win the South Padre Island Invitational, defeated No. 13 ranked Florida in the Orange Bowl Classic, routed No. 17 ranked Temple by 17 points and took down No. 24 Xavier in the A-10 semifinals. This year Richmond defeated No. 8 ranked Purdue to win the Chicago Invitational, No. 24 Temple in the A-10 Semis and No. 25 Vanderbilt in the NCAA Tournament.
Known for his ability to communicate, Mooney received the Voice of the University Award in 2010, given to a faculty or staff member for being a "voice" that represents the University of Richmond in an outstanding manner. He was also named to Richmond Style Weekly's Top 40 Under 40 for his community involvement. Mooney was mentioned for several coaching vacancies over the last two years, but has signed an extension each year, which now has him signed on for 10 years to remain at the school through the 2020-21 season.
"I'm thrilled to be the coach here at Richmond especially now as we are building in our program," Mooney said. "The reason that I'm staying has nothing to do with the typical reasons you read about in the newspapers or the reports. It has nothing to do with conferences or facilities or charter flights. If I had to give a list of reasons they would all be names: Dan Geriot, Kevin Anderson, Justin Harper and Kevin Smith. It would be a list just of names of people that I want to be associated with and see them succeed."
All Richmond's success throughout the past two seasons has come with plenty of national notoriety for the Spiders. Mooney appeared on ESPN2's First Take and ESPN's Jim Rome Is Burning and Doug Gottlieb Show multiple times. He was featured in a New York Times article and the Spiders were profiled in Sports Illustrated and USA Today, twice, including a cover story on the sports section the day before the 2010 NCAA Tournament opened.
Known for his ability to communicate, Mooney received the Voice of the University Award, given to a faculty or staff member for being a "voice" that represents the University of Richmond in an outstanding manner. He was also named to Richmond Style Weekly's Top 40 Under 40 for his community involvement.
Mooney and his staff have recruited and mentored five all-conference players in their six seasons at Richmond. This includes one of the best point guards in the nation over the last three years in Anderson, the 2011 A-10 Tournament MVP, 2010 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, two-time First-Team All-Atlantic 10 selection and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American. Anderson was the 2008 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year and a Second-Team All A-10 pick as a sophomore.
The 2011 Spiders were the first Atlantic 10 team in five years to have two players selected First-Team All-Atlantic with forward Justin Harper joining Anderson. Harper has credited Mooney and the coaching staff many times for his maturation from stand-still shooter to a legitimate NBA Prospect.
David Gonzalvez was a two-time All-Atlantic 10 selection who graduated in 2010 as the fourth-leading scorer in school history, Dan Geriot was the only sophomore to earn Atlantic 10 All-Conference honors in 2008 and Kevin Smith was named to the A-10 All-Defensive Team in 2011.
In just seven years at Richmond, Mooney's recruits already occupy four of the top-17 spots on the all-time career scoring list, four of the top seven on the career three-point list, three of the top six spots on the all-time steals list and two of the top eight on the career blocks list.
While Mooney played at Princeton and employs fundamentals of the Princeton offense, the Spiders have no problem scoring and pushing the tempo, averaging around 70 points per game the last three seasons while setting a school record for points in a season twice in the last three years.
Since high school Mooney has been a part of setting the school record for wins in a season as a player at Archbishop Ryan High, as a player at Princeton, as a coach at Lansdale Catholic High, as a coach at Beaver College and as a coach at Air Force.
Mooney was hired as a Division I coach at the age of 31, taking over at Air Force after serving three years as an assistant coach and one year as an associate head coach on Joe Scott's staff. The Falcons posted their second best all-time record (18-12) in Mooney's first year at the helm, while setting a program mark in three-pointers (266) and leading the nation for the third consecutive year in fewest points allowed per game (54.3). His 18 victories were the most by a first-year head at Air Force.
Under Mooney's direction, Air Force ranked second in Division I for fewest turnovers per game (9.8) and third in turnover margin (+6.6). That is a trend that has carried over to Richmond as the Spiders led the Atlantic 10 in fewest turnovers per game (12.00) in conference games in 2008-09. The Falcons, who received votes in the national polls, were one of only two Mountain West Conference teams with five all-conference honorees. In his final season as Air Force's associate head coach, Mooney was instrumental in guiding the Falcons to their most successful season.
The 2003-04 squad went 22-7, won the Mountain West Conference regular-season championship with a 12-2 mark, and earned the program's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1962. In conjunction with the on-court success, Mooney fostered strong relationships in the community. Air Force's home attendance increased every season Mooney spent in Colorado Springs, including an all-time high in 2004-05. The Falcons enjoyed a program-record 24-game home win streak during his last two seasons.
By fostering connections to alumni, Mooney helped build a network that enabled Air Force to travel to Sweden and Denmark, and the Spiders visited Spain in the summer of 2008. He believes being a recognizable and active part of the community is essential for his entire program.
During his playing days for Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril at Princeton, Mooney twice earned the B.F. Bunn Trophy, given annually to the varsity basketball student-athlete who, through sportsmanship, play and influence, contributed most to the sport at the school. He finished second for Ivy League Rookie of the Year as a freshman, honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore, First-Team All-Ivy League as a junior and Second-Team All-Ivy his final season.
A 1994 graduate with a B.A. in English, Mooney led Princeton to the NCAA Tournament twice following a pair of conference titles. The four-year letterwinner amassed 1,071 points, which ranks 20th on Princeton's all-time scoring list, and started all 107 games in his career. He currently ranks seventh on Princeton's career list with 142 career three-pointers and is one of five Princeton student-athletes to score 1,000 points, grab 350 rebounds and dish 200 assists.
Following his playing career, Mooney took over the reigns at Landsdale Catholic High School at the age of 22 and Division III Beaver College (now Arcadia University) at the age of 25. In his second year at Beaver College, Mooney led the team to a school-record 16 wins and a playoff berth in the conference tournament.
Mooney is married to the former Lia Chomat, a Princeton graduate who also has a doctorate in psychology from Penn. The couple has two sons, Danny and Ryan.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT MOONEY AND THE SPIDERS
"The Spiders made some noise last year and already got a big W over Purdue. (Chris Mooney) has a keen basketball acumen. ." - Dick Vitale in USA Today
"I told our team...this could have been a lot worse than it was." - #8 Ranked Purdue Coach Matt Painter after the Spiders defeated the Boilermakers 65-54 to win the Chicago Invitational
"They run a hybrid (of the Princeton offense. When you think of Princeton, it's slow down, a lot of passes, all of that. They are a high-octane, drive-it, push-the-ball-in-transition team. They're great in the open court. One thing people always forget is they play the Princeton defense, too, which is a switching man-to-man. They steal the ball a lot and force a lot of turnovers. (Playing Richmond is) every bit as much of a challenge offensively as it is defensively."" - Brian Gregory, former head coach of Dayton, who the Flyers have defeated 3-straight times, including a 70-61 at UD Arena this season and a 67-54 win in the 2011 A-10 Championship.
"Playing Richmond is not a box of chocolates, that's for sure." - #17 Ranked Temple Coach Fran Dunphy after the Spiders defeated the Owls 71-54 in the Robins Center last year
"They're a very good team. We've been able to overcome some bad shooting nights, but with the way they shot it tonight, it was really difficult." - Florida coach Billy Donovan after Richmond's win over the No. 13 Gators last season
"I really think Richmond is a hard team to guard. Tonight we lost in large part due to Richmond's high-level offense. We didn't have an answer for Kevin Anderson and we didn't have an answer for Richmond." - Former Xavier coach and current Arizona coach Sean Miller after the Spiders' 80-75 win over the No. 17 Musketeers in 2008-09
"Coach Mooney is one of the best young minds in the game." - Andy Katz, ESPN.com
"They are so well coached. What Chris has done with this basketball team is impressive. Richmond has a very good basketball team. Those guys are good players, they can shoot it and run their stuff. I think they have a really good team and I'm happy to come out of here with a win." - Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim after the the Orange's 76-71 over Richmond in 2008-09 in the Carrier Dome
"Chris is a bright guy who is a hard worker. Guys want to play for him because he is tough and personable. His offense is more open than the traditional Princeton style, more freedom and less restriction. He is a special guy. I'm sure he will be very good for Richmond."- Bill Carmody, Northwestern head coach
"Chris Mooney's pedigree as a player at Princeton and his coaching background at Air Force are a great fit for the University of Richmond. Spider basketball teams will be well-coached by someone with great energy and integrity." - Fran Fraschilla, ESPN college basketball analyst