Monday, June 17, 2013

Whoa Brunelli! Lady Knights Find Their Man

Jim Brunelli was named Gannon's head women's basketball coach this morning at a university press conference. Here is the official press release from Gannon and also Brunelli's Twitter account so you can get some insight into his interests and personality.

I know the initial reaction is that Brunelli is under immense pressure to win the PSAC, the region, and the national championship here in Erie next March. I don't see it that way and I'm guessing Brunelli, because he's a mature coach (don't let his boyish looks fool you), doesn't share the view of many fans.

From a strictly basketball perspective, Job #1 for Brunelli in the 2013-14 season is to get to know this team, its many strengths and few weaknesses. Job #2 is to make sure they get better every day. He's got to get his program to dream about the Elite 8 but not dwell on it. The focus has to be on individuals working hard, playing smart, and improving their game. They don't hand out trophies in practice, but that's usually where they're earned. The Lady Knights have to think "Cheyney" before they think "championship." If Brunelli can make this team better, the wins will take care of themselves.

Personally, I'm excited Gannon lured a quality coach like Brunelli to Erie. Forget all his basketball background and NCAA history. He's a western PA native, and those area roots could result in a stable Lady Knight program that could experience a long run of success. Fans are thinking mostly about next year because the team is so loaded. But I think the university also wanted a person with the character and local connections who can be the foundation for year-in, year-out success in academics and athletics for the next decade or more.


  1. Its like when I go to the doctor, he knows more about keeping one healthy than I do. So I'll go with the committee and welcome Jim to the GU family. I'm a Knight backer therefore a Brunelli backer. Let's go Lady Knights all the way to the Eastside of downtown Erie.

  2. I was at the presser. Good enthusiasm in the room. You could also feel the high expectations that Coach Brunelli will be facing this year. As I said, a lot has to go well beyond the coaching for a team to get back to the Elite 8. Injuries, a bad call, a two-game road losing skid, only 13 points in a half in the regional championship ... you name it.

  3. GU Fanman, I have to admit that I laughed out loud at your last sentence. I recall the "SPRING-FIELD" cheers of the 1987-88-90 teams. Fans cheered "MISSOURI" for the 2010 Elite 8.

    If we are fortunate to go the Elite 8 in 2014, what do fans in the stands say? "NINTH-AND-FRENCH! (clap) NINTH-AND-FRENCH!" or "FOUR BLOCKS DOWN THE STREET (clap-clap-clap-clap) FOUR BLOCKS DOWN THE STREET ..."

    Let's hope that we have that problem.

    1. Well...if we are lucky to have that problem..we got 9 months to develop something. 9th and French would be pretty good actually. Could just do an Erie chant as well.

      The talent is there for an elite eight run, but as you mentioned alot has to go right in order for it to occur as well.

  4. Brunelli played for the Clarion men's basketball team in 1993-94. Didn't GU play Clarion that season?

  5. Dec 1st, 1993 Gannon 68 - Clarion 60 at the Audi

  6. Interesting story on IUP recruits -- lots of transfers for the Crimson Hawks:,17497757/

  7. The mens 2013-14 basketball schedule is now posted on the Gannon Basketball website.

  8. I see four Saturday home games for the entire season....bummer ( not counting any possible playoff games). Plus, we open the season with a PSAC league game against Cal at home. Wow!

  9. And we host Mercyhurst in December. And the game at Mercyhurst is on a Saturday afternoon.

    The reason that we open up against Cal is because there are now 22 PSAC games in the new super-size conference. And since we are bound to play two GM Classic and two Porreco Cup games (forced into the middle of December), we have no choice but to open up against a PSAC foe in a game that counts.

    I bet that the women's team will open up with a non-league game. Much better scheduling for the team's success.

    As I said before, it's time to make the tough decision and consider getting rid of the Porreco Cup to give us some scheduling flexibility.

  10. I began saying when I saw last year's schedule that they either have to combine the Miller and the Porreco tourneys or alternate the sponsorship every year between the 2 companies. There just isn't enough schedule flexibility the way it is now. Unfortunately, I'm guessing that the money from having 2 tournaments is too good, and the Athletic Dep't doesn't want to step on Gary Miller's or Lou Porreco's toes.

    Somehow, the Women's program hasn't painted itself into that 2 tournament commitment corner, which is why they can start the season with a non-conference game.