Ken Kaufman to Step Down as WPI's Head Men's Varsity Basketball Coach
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/May 22, 2001
Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616
WORCESTER, Mass. - Ken Kaufman today announced that he has decided to relinquish his position as head men's varsity basketball coach at WPI after 26 seasons, the longest tenure of any WPI basketball coach. Kaufman will continue as assistant to the director of athletics, instructor of physical education, coordinator of summer sports camps, and director of the co-ed basketball and co-ed soccer camps.
Kaufman said his decision to give up his coaching duties was spurred by his upcoming election to the presidency of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). He said this new position will entail considerable travel over the next two years. Kaufman is currently first vice president of the NABC and will assume the presidency next March. He was elected to the board of the NABC in 1993.
Raymond Gilbert, director of physical education and athletics, said a search for a new head men's varsity basketball coach would begin immediately.
"I'd like to thank Ken for his long service to this university as its head basketball coach and wish him well in his new responsibilities at WPI and at the NABC," Gilbert said. "Being named president of the NABC is a significant honor, one that shines the spotlight on WPI, on the New England Women's' and Men's Athletic Conference, and on Division III. Ken will be following in some extraordinary footsteps, including those of past presidents Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Dean Smith of the University of North Carolina. We recognize that he will need time to do this important job well."
"I appreciate the cooperation that the WPI administration has given me in my decision to give up coaching at this time," Kaufman said. "I have coached at WPI for a total of 32 years. In that time I have had tremendous support from the administration and WPI alumni. We have recruited many exceptional young men to come to WPI and they have become very successful in their adult lives.
"I am looking forward to becoming president of the NABC and following in the footsteps of Roy Williams of Kansas. With over 5,000 members from colleges, universities and high schools throughout the United States, the NABC is currently involved with several significant basketball issues with the NCAA and the NBA. I also look forward to continuing my relationship with the American Cancer Society and the Coaches vs. Cancer Programs."
A Worcester native, Kaufman graduated from Classical High School, where he was captain of the basketball team and an All City Basketball choice his junior and senior years. He graduated from Leicester Junior College, where he captained the basketball and baseball teams and was the Student Athlete of the Year in 1965. In 1968, he earned a bachelor's degree in physical education at the University of Bridgeport, where he also played basketball; he was captain of the university team in his senior year.
After receiving his bachelor's degree, he taught physical education in the Worcester Public Schools and worked toward a master's degree in education at Worcester State College, which he earned in 1973. Also in 1969, he began working at WPI part-time as assistant men's varsity basketball coach and coach of the men's junior varsity team.
In 1975, he was named acting men's varsity basketball coach at WPI, and a year later became full-time varsity coach and assistant professor of physical education. He assumed additional duties as assistant to the athletic director in 1987. He coached his 500th game for WPI during the 1995-96 season. The all-time leader among WPI's men's basketball coaches in career coaching victories, he has coached two CoSIDA Academic First Team All Americans (Jim Naughton '96 and Mike Shannon '97) and two NCAA Division III All Americans (Orville Bailey '85 and Chris Dunn '95) and numerous All-New Englanders.
WPI's men's basketball team made its first appearance in the NCAA national Division III tournament in 1981 under Kaufman's coaching. The team he coached in 1984 finished with a 20-8 record and won the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship. Kaufman is also a member of the board of trustees of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.