Basketball Notebook: Sheldon Announces Retirement From Tufts University

Bob Sheldon, who has coached the Tufts University men’s basketball team for three decades, announced his retirement Thursday. (PHOTO COURTESY: TuftsNow)

By Matt Noonan 

Prior to yesterday’s announcement from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regarding an update on the upcoming winter sports season, which has been canceled, Bob Sheldon, who has guided the Tufts University men’s basketball team for the past 33 years, announced he will be stepping down effectively on Thursday, December 31, 2020. 

Matt Malone, who has been an assistant under Sheldon for the past 15 years, will take over as the interim coach, according to Wednesday’s (Oct. 7) release from the Tufts University athletic department

Sheldon and the Jumbos matched a program record for wins (23) this past winter while capturing their first-ever NESCAC Tournament Championship by outlasting Colby College in double-overtime

“I was getting near the end of my career as it was, and then when Covid came up and the craziness with that, I just felt that it was time for me to go,” said Sheldon, via the Tufts athletic department story, which can be seen (and read) on the school’s athletic website. 

Sheldon noted he “went back and forth” with his decision to retire, but seems content with his choice to leave a program that he believes is in “a good spot going forward.” 

Prior to their season concluding earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tufts won a pair of NCAA D-III Tournament games in Medford, including a come-from-behind win over Western Connecticut in the opening round. 

Sheldon, who is the program’s all-time winningest coach, would have entered his team’s 2020-21 season as one of the Top 25 NCAA D-III winningest coaches after being named the NESCAC and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Northeast Region Coach of the Year in March. 

The 2020-21 NESCAC winter sports season has been canceled: As noted above, the NESCAC became the first New England D-III conference to cancel its upcoming winter sports season on Thursday, October 7, after postponing its fall season on Friday, July 10

While health and safety were stressed in yesterday’s release regarding the decision by the conference’s presidents, the NESCAC did note that some of their schools have made “significant modifications” to their current academic calendar, which would limit the number of games each program would be able to compete in.  

The NESCAC has made no announcement regarding spring sports – an update will most likely come in a few months – but the conference did say the league’s 11 schools could schedule non-conference games if they choose to. However, D3Sports.com has reported that some schools within the conference have already made decisions for its various winter sports programs, including Middlebury College, which announced yesterday that they “will not hold any athletic competitions during the winter season.” 

Elms College to join the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC): While it is uncertain if and when Elms College will resume athletic competition in the next few weeks or months, the athletic department did announce some exciting news earlier this week about joining the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) for the 2022-23 school year. 

The Blazers currently compete in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and would join a former member of the eight-team league – that would be Dean College – which joined the GNAC as a full-time member at the start of the current academic year (2020-21)

Both Elms College basketball teams competed last winter in the NECC Tournament with the women’s squad advancing to the conference championship game against Mitchell College

The GNAC has welcomed a few new schools to its conference over the past few years, including Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts in 2017, and Colby-Sawyer in 2018. 

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Packy Witkowski (Coast Guard Academy)

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Coast Guard Academy senior Packy Witkowski, who is from Melrose, Massachusetts, averaged a career-best 17.7 points this past season with the Bears. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Packy Witkowski has always been a player to watch on the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team, but perhaps this was a season both he and fans of the program will remember the most.

The Melrose, Massachusetts native, who played high school basketball at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, averaged a career-best 17.7 points per game. He scored a career-high 477 points in 27 contests to go with 120 rebounds, 34 assists, 20 steals, and five blocks.

Witkowski registered 20 points or more in nine games this past winter while sinking a season-best 33 points on 12 of 21 shooting in his team’s 80-69 win over Merchant Marine Academy. He scored 10 points or more in 21 contests while averaging 17.6 points for the Bears in three New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament games.

The senior guard concludes an impressive four-year run with the Bears, which saw him record 1,518 points in 93 games to go with 502 rebounds, 150 assists, 61 steals, and 15 blocks.

We recently spoke with Witkowski to discuss his final season with the Bears, as well as his future plans with the Coast Guard beyond graduation.


What will you remember most about your senior year with the Bears? 

It’s hard to narrow down to a single event from this past season, but I would say our team’s journey is what I will remember the most.

From starting out in Anchorage, Alaska to finishing in Brockport, New York, it was a journey made by a group of brothers. We did not start well but we kept at it. By the end, we were operating on all cylinders when we needed it most and founds a way through. This culminated in winning three road playoff games in five days to become NEWMAC Tournament Champions to earning an automatic bid into the NCAA D-III Tournament.

The journey was special and an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you remember most? Why these particular games? 

Our NEWMAC Championship game against WPI. To be down 24 points at the break and comeback and win was nothing short of incredible. I am very grateful to have been part of a win like that, but more importantly, on a team that was so resilient. It is difficult to put that one game into words but that is a memory that will bond us forever.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team (and program) these past four years? 

Being able to compete (on a daily basis), but really just being a part of this team for four years. Having that competitive outlet and support network from the team and coaching staff has made my experience here at the Coast Guard Academy that much more rewarding and worthwhile. Having the privilege to go to the Academy and represent it while playing a sport that I love has truly been amazing. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I have been afforded and the experiences I have had during my time both here at the Academy and on this team.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan (or hope) to stay involved with your sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching in the future? 

I will always love this game and do what I can to keep up with the team going forward. I can see myself getting involved in coaching to some degree down the road because I am passionate about helping and developing others. Coaching would allow me to continue that passion after graduation.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it? Also, what are your future plans beyond graduation? 

I am finishing up my degree in civil engineering. I have always wanted to have a technical background that would allow me to develop real-world problem-solving skills and that is exactly what this major has provided me.

I believe studying civil engineering has set me up for future success, beginning as an officer with the Coast Guard. School has always been something that has meant a lot to me and I have worked really hard to be successful at it while balancing both my military and basketball commitments.

I will be serving aboard USCGC Reliance as a Deck Watch Officer in June and am very excited to begin my career with the Coast Guard. Beyond that, I am working towards making my dream of being a Coast Guard aviator come true, as well.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Spencer Vinson (WPI)

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WPI’s Spencer Vinson averaged 10.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this past season for the Engineers. (PHOTO COURTESY: WPI Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

WPI‘s Spencer Vinson enjoyed one of her best seasons with the Engineers this past winter.

The Los Angeles, California native, who started all 26 contests, averaged a career-best 10.3 points per game. Additionally, Vinson registered career-bests in points (267), rebounds (187), blocks (38), and steals (17) while dishing out 23 assists.

Vinson scored 10 points or more in 17 games while netting a season-high 20 points on 10 of 13 shooting during her team’s 60-45 win over Cal Tech. The senior center scored the game’s first six points before finishing with 10 rebounds and one block.

Named to the Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) second team, Vinson, who started 39 of 69 contests, concluded her four-year career with 524 points, 382 rebounds, 67 blocks, 50 assists, and 38 steals.

We recently caught-up with Vinson to discuss her playing career with the Engineers, as well as her future plans beyond graduation.


What will you remember most about your final season with the Engineers? 

There were a lot of memories I had this past year. I’d say my most memorable one was  our ‘Senior Day.’

Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they? 

One of the games I’ll remember was from this past year when we played Williams College at home. It was such a fun and competitive game from the start to finish, and we really came together as a team that evening, which provided us with some momentum for our next few games.

Another game I will remember is our New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) semifinal contest against Babson College. It was such an exciting game that  I will never forget because of it going into overtime.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the WPI women’s basketball program these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation?

I’m going to miss the sisterhood my teammates and I established, as well as the drive our team had, both this season and the past few years. I am so appreciative of how close our team has always been, especially during a time when so many of us are at home and not together on campus. We have established a sense of community and love within this team (and program) that I appreciate and adore.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future? Any interest in being a coach? 

Being removed from the basketball world these past few weeks has made me miss the sport so much, so yes, I would be interested in staying involved with this game in some way in the future. I am not sure about coaching at this particular moment, but it is something I am certainly open to doing.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you plan to do with it after graduation? 

I am currently majoring in mechanical engineering. It’s very interesting. I enjoy it because it’s a very open field with different focuses and possibilities. After graduation, I am going to pursue a master’s in management. My hope is to pick up some new skillsets and become an even better communicator. Beyond my studies, both currently and in the future, I do hope to land a job with an athletic company.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Alex Goslin

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Alex Goslin averaged a career-best 13.9 points per game this past season for the Pride. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Alex Goslin enjoyed a successful senior season with the Springfield College women’s basketball team, averaging career-bests in points per game (13.9) and rebounds (4.6.).

The South Windsor, Connecticut native started every game for the Pride this past winter and concluded her team’s 2019-20 campaign with 374 points, 104 assists, 123 rebounds, and 56 steals. Additionally, Goslin became the 16th student-athlete in program history to eclipse the 1,000th point mark when she netted a game-high 26 points in her team’s 106-62 win last December over Westfield State.

“It was pretty surreal,” Goslin said of her 1,000th point. “It was so loud and I think that just shows the family of Springfield College and how much support we have here from like my family and our Springfield College family.”

Named the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women’s Basketball Athlete of the Year, Goslin concluded her four-year career with the Pride by netting scoring 1,220 points in 113 games to go with 367 rebounds, 369 assists, and 190 steals.

We recently caught up with Alex Goslin to discuss her impressive career with the Pride, as well as her plans after graduation.


What will you remember most about your final season with the Pride? 

All of the memories we made together. Not so much the wins or the losses, but more so the time we spent together in the locker room, on campus, and during practices. Additionally, I’ll remember the daily battles we had with each other on the court to competing and pushing each other to get better.

From a personal perspective, it was great to score my 1,000th point (last December), but that was only because of my coaches and teammates.

At the end of the day, it’s less about the personal accomplishments I had and more about the time I spent with the team. It’s hard to pinpoint one single thing that I will remember the most, but I think it would certainly have to be the people (I played with these past four years).

Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they? 

One game that really sticks out in my mind was when we beat Smith College in last year’s NEWMAC Tournament. It was such a close and competitive game. Smith had some really skilled players on their team, but we battled the whole time and won as a team.

Another game I will remember is when we played MIT during my junior year at home. It was a game we won in the final ten seconds. It was another great win for us and it was one of those moments you dream about as a kid.

From this past season, I think it was our game against Westfield State. I scored my 1,000th point (during the game), and once my shot dropped in I was blown away by the support of both my teammates and our fans. It was our accomplishment, not a personal one, and it made me realize how grateful I was to be a part of such a special program, with the most amazing people.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for your team/program these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

I think I’ve enjoyed all of the connections I’ve made with my teammates, but also the memories I have made these past four years. My coaches and teammates have taught me a lot and enabled me to grow into a person I never knew I could become. I’ve learned life skills that will prepare me for future success while gaining lifelong friends that I know will always be there for me.

I think I will miss the little things such as team dinners, singing and dancing to music on the bus before games, and just being with my teammates off the court.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future?

I definitely plan to coach in the future. I would love to coach an AAU team at some point and definitely a high school squad, too.

As a future coach, I also hope to run clinics and summer camps to help young girls develop their skills, have fun while competing, and build a basketball community. I also want to continue playing in women’s basketball league.

Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you plan to do with it after graduation? 

I am a math and secondary education major with a minor in athletic coaching. I chose this major because I want to make a difference to future generations, but also empower them to become leaders.

I will be teaching eighth-grade math in Bolton, Connecticut next fall, and as mentioned in your previous question, I would also like to coach (at some point soon). I am really excited to give back the others and take the mission of Springfield College, which is all about education of the whole person in spirit, mind, and body for leadership and service to others everywhere we go.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Jake Wisniewski (WPI)

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Jake Wisniewski averaged 9.0 points and 6.4 rebounds this past season with the Engineers. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin/WPI Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

It was just last month when WPI senior Jake Wisniewski was named the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Defensive Player of the Year after leading the Engineers to a 20-win season, along with an appearance in the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament.

For the second-straight year, the West Brookfield, Massachusetts native averaged 9.0 points per game to go with 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 28 contests. Wisniewski netted 10 points or more 11 times this past winter while scoring a season-best 23 points on 10 of 16 shooting against Wheaton College in February.

Named a second-teamer by both the NEWMAC and Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA), Wisniewski concluded his career with 958 points in 107 contests along with 552 rebounds, 161 assists, and 35 blocks.

We recently caught up with Jake Wisniewski to discuss his four-year career with the Engineers, as well as his future plans after graduation later this spring.


What will you remember most about your final season with the Engineers? 

Conference play, but also getting to play with my classmate Lou Doherty.

Was there a game (or two) that you will remember most from either your senior season or the past three years? If so, which game(s) are they? 

Before our senior season tipped-off last November, I would say our NEWAC semifinal contest against MIT last winter when Colin McNamara sank the game-winning basket at the buzzer.

As for this past season, I would say our home games against Emerson College and Wheaton College. Against Wheaton, I got into a rhythm (and scored 23 points), but the best part of both games (as well as other home contests) was getting to spend time with our families and friends after the final buzzer sounded.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for your team/program these past four years? What will you miss most after graduation? 

I will miss battling and competing with these guys on a daily basis. I will miss the games because there probably will never be another contest I play that I can get as competitive as I did with the Engineers these past four years. But most of all, I will miss my teammates and hanging out with them off the court.

Do you hope to stay involved with your sport in the future? Any interest in being a coach? 

Definitely. I want to stay involved with basketball in some way, and I am certainly interested in being a coach in the future.

Tell me about your major/concentration. How did you choose it and what do you plan to do with it after graduation? 

I chose to concentrate on project management because I like to work with people to solve problems.