Syracuse, N.Y. – It is an historical day at Le Moyne College as Director of Athletics Bob Beretta welcomed back an old friend to lead the women’s basketball program on Tuesday morning.
Beretta announced that Mary Grimes would become the sixth head women’s basketball coach in program history. Grimes, who previously served two separate stints as an assistant coach at Le Moyne, returns to the Heights following a two-year term as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Xavier University.
As the College celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, Grimes becomes the first African-American to serve as head coach of an intercollegiate athletic program in the history of Le Moyne College.
“Mary is a tremendous choice to lead our women’s basketball team and I am proud to welcome her as the first African-American to serve as a head coach at the College,” said Le Moyne President Linda M. LeMura. “Her familiarity with Le Moyne and its basketball program, along with her commitment to Jesuit education through her previous time here and at Xavier, will provide a solid foundation for Mary. She was selected from among several outstanding candidates and I’d like to express my appreciation for everyone who was involved with the search process.”
Grimes returns to the Le Moyne sidelines for the third time after previously spending stints as an assistant under Jeanne Dupree from 2003-05 and Gina Castelli from 2017-19.
In her two-year stint alongside Castelli, she helped the Dolphins to a 43-17 overall record, including a mark of 27-13 in Northeast-10 Conference play. At the time of her departure, both marks were the best in a two-year span in the program’s 23 years in the conference. In 2018-19, she helped the Dolphins win their first-ever NE10 regular season and tournament championships. The Dolphins earned the fourth seed in the NCAA Championships East Regional – just the second NCAA appearance in the program’s history – and advanced to the regional championship game for the first time in the program’s history.
“This is a truly exciting and historic day for Le Moyne College, our intercollegiate athletic program and the women’s basketball program as we welcome Mary Grimes back to the Heights as our new head coach,” said Beretta. “Mary clearly emerged from a talented candidate pool and is the perfect fit to build upon the remarkable success authored by retiring head coach Gina Castelli.
“Having served two terms as an assistant at Le Moyne, Mary understands our community and embraces the Jesuit values that steer our campus culture. Mary has consistently been a part of winning programs throughout her career, dating back to her days as a player at Siena. She has been a member of teams that have recorded 12 postseason appearances as a player and a coach, and will bring that championship mindset to our program. Mary is family-oriented and displays great care for the overall well-being of her players. I couldn’t be more excited to announce Mary Grimes as Le Moyne’s new women’s basketball head coach.”
During her time at Xavier, a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Grimes was responsible for scheduling opponents for future seasons, including managing the guarantee-game budget, served as offensive coordinator and scouting coach, identified and recruited potential prospects, led player development of guards, on-floor coaching and assisted with practice and game planning. She was also the academic liaison for the Musketeers with the team GPA rising from a 2.6 to a 3.2 after her hiring. She helped mentor A’riana Gray, who earned All-BIG EAST honors in 2019-20 after leading the conference in rebounding for the second straight year. She also helped guide Aaliyah Dunham, who ranked fourth in the conference in assists.
“Becoming a head coach has been a dream of mine and I am incredibly excited to be named the head coach for women’s basketball at Le Moyne College,” said Grimes. “Le Moyne is a special place with special people and I’m so grateful for this opportunity.
“I’d like to thank Dr. LeMura, Bob Beretta, the search committee and everyone involved in the hiring process. There is a great foundation of success here and I’m eager to get to work and take the program to new heights.”
Grimes came back to the Heights in 2017 from the University at Albany, where she spent seven years. She served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the highly-successful women’s basketball team from 2010-16. The Great Danes won five consecutive America East Conference Championships from 2012-16 and earned berths in the NCAA Championships each of those five seasons. UAlbany went 146-47 in the six years that Grimes was on the staff, including a mark of 107-23 over the final four seasons.
The Great Danes were 83-13 in America East competition, including 60-4 to claim four consecutive America East regular season titles over the last four years of her tenure. In her role with the Great Danes, she was responsible for all recruiting duties, including identifying potential prospects (domestic and international), analyzing their fit to the program and making contact with the players and coaches, while also coordinating official visits, unofficial visits and home visits. She was also responsible for game scheduling of opponents for future seasons, scouting opponents and developing game strategies along with player development of guards, on floor coaching and assisting with practice planning.
Prior to her time at UAlbany, Grimes was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Syracuse University for five years. With the Orange, she was an assistant coach from 2005-10 and added recruiting coordinator duties for the final two years. She was responsible for scouting reports and pre/post-game film breakdown, assisting with strategies and game planning for opponents and on-floor coaching. She was also the liaison for strength and conditioning and monitored student-athlete academic progress.
As recruiting coordinator, she was responsible for recruiting the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report’s eighth-ranked class in 2009. The Orange posted a 16-win improvement from Grimes’ first season on the staff (nine wins) to her final season under head coach Quentin Hillsman (25 wins). The Orange earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2008 after going 22-8 prior to the announcement of the tournament field. The Orange appeared in the WNIT in 2009 and advanced to the 2010 WNIT quarterfinals.
Grimes is a 2003 graduate of Siena College, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in marketing and management. Grimes was a four-year member of the Saints’ women’s basketball team under the direction of Castelli, who was assisted by Hillsman during Grimes’ freshman and sophomore seasons. Grimes started 93 of 119 games played as a Saint, scored 770 points, grabbed 288 rebounds, dished out 220 assists and posted 123 steals. The Saints were the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season champions in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and captured the MAAC Tournament Championship in 2001 to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Saints appeared in the WNIT in 2002 and 2003, advancing to the second round in 2003.
The Le Moyne Athletic Department will officially introduce Grimes at a press conference on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in the Events Center. Media members wishing to join via teleconference, please contact Craig Lane at email@example.com.
What They’re Saying…
Greg Christopher – Xavier University Vice President for Administration, Director of Athletics
“Congratulations to Le Moyne in bringing Mary back to Syracuse. First and foremost, Mary is a tremendous person. She connects with and has had an important impact on our student-athletes. And Mary’s a great coach as well, helping us rebuild the Xavier program the last two years. Mary will do great things for Le Moyne!”
Melanie Moore – Xavier University Head Women’s Basketball Coach
“Le Moyne hit a home run with this hire! Mary is an exceptional coach and she knows Le Moyne very well having coached there twice as an assistant coach. She is a proven winner and will continue their standard of excellence on the court and in the classroom! We will miss her at Xavier!”
Gina Castelli – Former Le Moyne College Women’s Basketball Coach
“What an outstanding hire for Le Moyne College! Mary Grimes is a phenomenal person and
excellent coach! I am so happy for Mary, her family, our women’s basketball program and the
entire Le Moyne community! Mary is a veteran coach that understands what it takes to win at
a high level. She was made for this opportunity!”
Quentin Hillsman – Syracuse University Head Women’s Basketball Coach
“Mary is a rising star in college women’s basketball. She has the ability to recruit and relate to student athletes at a high level. Her knowledge of the game and work ethic will make her successful.”
Jada Pierce – Niagara University Head Women’s Basketball Coach
“Mary is someone I’ve known and respected for many years. She is an extremely hard worker. She has great passion and drive for success on and off the court. Mary is a winner!!! She has always talked about how she values the relationships she has with past and present players. I’ve always admired her balance of being a great mom and great coach. Le Moyne is getting one of the finest people in this business! Mary will continue what she helped Coach Castelli get started.”
The Grimes File
Le Moyne College – Head Coach (2021-present)
Xavier University – Assistant Coach (2019-21)
Le Moyne College – Assistant Coach (2017-19)
University at Albany – Assistant Coach (2010-16)
Syracuse University – Assistant Coach (2005-10)
Le Moyne College – Assistant Coach (2003-05)
Siena College – 1999-2003
B.S. Marketing and Management – Siena College (2003)