Mike Theulen steps down as men's basketball coach at Western New England College

Chris Agoglia takes over as new coach; Bill Downes retires as assistant coach

Mike Theulen Chris Agoglia Bill Downes
Mike Theulen Chris Agoglia Bill Downes

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — After four seasons, Mike Theulen of Western New England College is stepping down as men’s basketball coach, it was announced Tuesday afternoon (March 4). He will remain as the school’s director of athletics.

Chris Agoglia, an assistant coach with the Golden Bears the last four years, will replace Theulen as the head coach.

Also, Bill Downes retired as an assistant coach, but will remain with the College as its men’s golf coach.

Theulen, one of the most popular and successful coaches in the Northeast, compiled a 70-42 record for a 62.5 winning percentage during his tenure with the Golden Bears, including a 16-11 mark this past season. This winter his team tied for third place in its first season in The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC) and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament.

Last year Theulen directed the Golden Bears to a 22-8 record, which was the second highest win total in team history. His squad also captured the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Tournament title for the program’s first-ever post-season championship.

Theulen, who is in his 10th year as the College’s director of athletics, previously served as the men’s basketball coach at Springfield College posting a 132-83 record (61.4%) from 1990-98. His overall men’s basketball record stands at 202-125 (61.8%). Theulen gained his 200th all-time victory on February 12 against Regis.

Theulen also coached the SC women’s basketball team for three years (1983-86) compiling a 41-33 mark (55.4%).

“It has been a privilege to serve as the College’s men’s basketball coach the last four seasons,” Theulen stated. “However, the demands of my administrative position have increased dramatically, particularly over the past year with a new conference affiliation, the success of our teams, and in the fund-raising area. The basketball program deserves full-time attention from its coach and the athletics department deserves full-time attention from its athletics director.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the players for their efforts and for all the support given me by my administrative staff, the coaching staff, and all of our student-athletes,” he added. “Without their support, this wouldn’t have been possible. It is indeed a great time to be at Western New England College and to be part of this athletics family. The future continues to look very bright.”

Agoglia, a native of Brockton, Massachusetts, graduated from Springfield College with both a Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management (1998) and Master’s degree in Athletic Administration (2000). He was a four-year member of the Pride men’s basketball team, playing three seasons for Theulen.

"I'm excited about the opportunity of becoming a head coach and look forward to working with our returning players," he said.

A two-year starter at guard, Agoglia scored 620 points in 88 games (7.0 avg.) and was one of the team’s best three-point shooters. He ranks sixth on the school’s all-time list in that category (120).

His senior year Agoglia averaged 8.5 points on the 1997-98 squad coached by Theulen, which posted a 26-2 record for the best mark in school history. Agoglia also was the recipient of the team's Ed Hickox Award for having the best free-throw percentage.

Agoglia was a team captain averaging 9.7 points as a graduate student on the 1998-99 team that finished with a 19-9 record. He was voted to the Naismith Classic All-Tournament Team and played in the New England Basketball Coaches Association (NEBCA) All-Star Game at Holy Cross.

Agoglia served as a graduate assistant coach at Springfield during the 1999-2000 campaign when the Pride advanced to the Sweet 16 Round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. He also was as an assistant coach at Drew University in New Jersey for four seasons (2000-04).

“Chris Agoglia has all the attributes to be a successful basketball coach at the College level. He has a passion for the game, is highly intelligent, knows how to teach, and communicates very well with our players,” said Theulen.

Downes re-joined the Golden Bears’ basketball staff when Theulen became head coach in 2004. Downes won 100 games as the Golden Bears’ coach from 1977-86.

“Certainly, one of the greatest personal pleasures I’ve had over the last four years was working with Coach Downes who is close friend and mentor, and a person I greatly admire and respect. He is Western New England College athletics,” Theulen stated.