University of Northern Iowa womens’ basketball coach Tony DiCecco announced he is resigning after 12 years on the job. DiCecco says it’s the best thing to do for the program at this point, "And, no question about this, what’s best for me."
The 57-year-old DiCecco has had some health problems and had said at the end of the season that he would decide whether he would continue. He says there were so many things that came into the picture, including the state of the program and his health. DiCecco says he made the decision for all the right reasons. DiCecco has coached for nearly four decades.
DiCecco says he’s had the great fortune to be involved in basketball as a coach for 36 years. DiCecco says he won’t rule out coaching again, but says right now this is the best thing to do. DiCecco says he steps away without any regrets. "I have had a tremendous ride," DiCecco says, "the ride is, there’s no way in the world that I can put into words of how good that ride has been."
DiCecco will stay on at UNI as an assistant to the director of athletics, where he’ll work on fundraising. DiCecco calls it a "great opportunity" because of the administration to pursue something he thinks he can do to help the university.
UNI Athletic Director Rick Hartzell says with the decision made, they’ll move to the next step. Hartzell says they’ll start a nationwide search right away and says the phone has already been ringing. He says he hopes to have a new coach in about a month. Hartzell says they want to explore all their options.
Hartzell says they’ll be looking for a coach who can lead them to the next level and the NCAA Tournament. DiCecco took over the program in 1995 that had not had a winning record in 14 years. He leaves as the winningest coach in UNI’s history.
In his 12 years, he led the Panthers to a 183-161 record and took the Panthers to its only three Division I postseason appearances, earning WNIT bids in 2001, 2003 and 2006. In eight of the last nine years, UNI has finished in the top half of the Missouri Valley Conference standings, including a second-place finish in 2004-05. That season, UNI finished with 20 wins, the most in program history, and DiCecco was selected as Rawlings MVC Coach of the Year.
Before joining the Panthers, DiCecco served as an assistant at Creighton for six seasons. Prior to joining the college coaching ranks, DiCecco spent 16 years as the head girls’ basketball coach at Montezuma High School in Montezuma, Iowa.