Cindy Blodgett’s next coaching stop will involve another women’s basketball program trying to turn itself around.

Cathy Inglese hired Blodgett this week as an assistant coach at Rhode Island, citing her court sense, recruiting connections and familiarity with the rebuilding process: Rhode Island went 7-21 last year, 1-13 in the Atlantic 10.

Blodgett, who was fired from the University of Maine in March, went 24-94 in her four years as head coach, including 4-25 this past year.

“(Inglese) is in the process of rebuilding a program as well, something I’m quite familiar with,” said Blodgett. “Just like at UMaine, that didn’t deter me, that’s a great challenge to be a part of.

“Everyone wants to jump on a program that wins 25, 30 games a year. But there’s very few of those jobs out there. You’ve got to be willing to spend the long hours, be patient, and sort of love the opportunity that it presents.”

Inglese, who was born in Presque Isle, and coached at Vermont and Boston College for 22 years, started with tough records at both of those programs but now has a 409-292 career record.

She has been at Rhode Island for two seasons.

“Cindy’s gone through that at Maine,” said Inglese. “It’s not for the weary. It’s a hard process. I know that, I’ve been through that. When you turn a program around it takes time. No one likes to lose. I hate to lose.

“It’s almost like you have to start from scratch, get rid of the foundation. I feel like this is really my first year in the rebuilding process.”

Inglese said she began talking with Blodgett soon after Blodgett was relieved of her duties at Maine in late March, but an official offer was made more recently.

“I was sort of waiting. You want to give them a little bit of down time,” said Inglese. “Yet at the same time you have a person like this in the region, I thought, ‘I’ve got to go after her.’

“We met, I massaged it a little. It was a process. What I like about Cindy is the fact she didn’t want to just jump into a job. It had to be particulars with her. I liked that. A lot of people were calling her. She felt really comfortable here.”

Blodgett moved to the Kingston, R.I., area over the weekend and started her new position Monday.

She said she’s known of Inglese for many years and was recruited by her in high school.

“You know there’s certain people in the coaching business who have a great reputation, whether it’s wins or losses or overall reputation in the league, and Cathy has that,” said Blodgett. “I knew the name when I was very young. She actually recruited me when she was at BC. She is very successful.

“She had openings on her staff. I thought it would be a great fit.”

Blodgett was hired with Stephanie Tobey and Eric Chapman to fill out the Rams’ staff.

Inglese said Blodgett’s recruiting contacts, on-court experience and understanding of the daily decisions made by a head coach made her a strong fit.

“I’m extremely excited to have her here,” said Inglese. “I saw her in action on the court. Her overall knowledge of the game is super. You can tell she’s been a player.”

Blodgett, who holds 20 records as a player at Maine, began her coaching career in 1999 at Boston University, where she served as an assistant.

She joined the staff at Brown in 2005 before being hired at Maine in 2007.

Blodgett said she looks forward to getting to work.

“When I went back to UMaine, it wasn’t just about returning but to really rebuild,” said Blodgett. “I think UMaine is going to be very good in the future. I’m thrilled to watch them from afar, see their success.

“And now I’m fortunate enough to be a part of a staff that’s trying to do the same.”

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]

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