He spent the weekend making up his mind.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORT STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- A Youngstown State athletic director will have to do something for the first time in 20 years -- find a new women's basketball coach.
Ed DiGregorio, 76, who took the Penguins to three NCAA Tournaments, announced his resignation Monday after 20 seasons at the helm.
DiGregorio did not attend a press conference, but released a statement.
"My tenure at Youngstown State University has been a wonderful and very rewarding journey," he said. "I'm grateful for the opportunities and help given me by so many people on this campus."
DiGregorio was 319-241 at YSU, leading the Penguins to six 20-win seasons and five straight Mid-Continent Conference championships. But, his career ended with three consecutive losing season, including a 6-22 mark this year, his worst-ever.
Thanks to players
"I would also like to thank our many outstanding young ladies who performed so well in the classroom and on the playing court," wrote DiGregorio. "They have brought great recognition to our great university, our community, their parents and families, but above all else they can walk tall and be proud of their accomplishments. I only hope that I have touched their lives in some small way as they have touched mine."
Director of Athletics Ron Strollo said DiGregorio was a strong part of the athletic department and will be missed.
As he does with every coach, Strollo met with DiGregorio following the season.
"He told me [Friday] that he liked to have the weekend to think things over and make a decision," Strollo said. "He called me Sunday night and told me he was going to resign.
"Coach D has had such an outstanding positive impact on so many lives in his 20 years with out university," Strollo said. "He was like a father-figure to many of us here. He has supported all of our athletic programs and has brought a great amount of notoriety to our department because of the successes our women's basketball teams have had."
Players at conference
Jessica Forsythe and Devin Novak, both of whom will be seniors next season, attended Monday's press conference.
"We were both surprised and sad when we heard," said Forsythe. "It was a very emotional time this morning. It was a very long and difficult season and I can see where it became very frustrating for him."
Novak said the program is better than this season's record would indicate.
"This program is still in great shape, and next year we have the potential to be a good team," she said. "We want a coach that will be able to motivate us, and I think we'll be able to adjust to just about any coach."
In the 1990's, DiGregorio, an East High graduate, led a YSU program that was among the most successful in all of Division I. The Penguins posted a 196-91 for the decade, which included five straight 20-win seasons from 1995-2000 and a school-best 28 wins in 1997-98.
He was twice named Coach of the Year in the Mid-Continent Conference, where he won five regular season championships and three tournament titles.
First NCAA meet
In 1996 YSU earned its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and in 1998 they beat Memphis in a NCAA first-round game. The Penguins also qualified for the tournament in 2000.
Four of DiGregorio's players earned conference most valuable player honors -- Liz Hauger Grzesk, Shannon Beach and Brianne Kenneally (twice) in the Mid-Continent Conference, and Dorothy Bowers Collins in the Ohio Valley Conference.
DiGregorio won his 300th game Feb. 1, 2001, a 74-59 victory over Valparaiso. His 98 league wins are the most by any Mid-Continent Conference coach.