Jacksonville State athletic director announces Pietri as new head coach
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Rick Pietri has been named women's head basketball coach at Jacksonville State, athletic director Warren Koegel announced on Monday afternoon.
Pietri spent the last 13 seasons as the head coach at South Alabama and helped turn the Lady Jags into a contender in the Sun Belt Conference, capturing back-to-back Sun Belt West Division titles in 2003 and 2004.
"There were many outstanding candidates that applied for this position and we appreciate the great interest that was shown to Jacksonville State women's basketball program," Koegel said. "In the end, the offer went to Rick Pietri.
"There were many coaches and athletic administrators that called in support of Coach Pietri's ability to lead the JSU women's basketball program. When you look at the experience and success that Coach Pietri has enjoyed at the NCAA Division I level, we felt like he was the perfect fit to be our new coach."
South made consecutive WNIT postseason appearances both in 2003 and 2004 and he is also the all-time winningest coach in Lady Jaguars history with a career record of 220-167. Prior to his arrival, South Alabama had posted 10 consecutive losing seasons.
"I'm tremendously excited about the opportunity to be the head coach at Jacksonville State," Pietri said. "The chance to move a program forward, much in the way I did when I arrived at South Alabama, is very exciting to me. I know that it is going to be a challenge, but one that I am up too."
Pietri's turnaround of the South Alabama program started with his first team, during the 2000-01 season, as the Jags finished with a record of 13-16. It was the most wins for the program in more than 10 years and was just two wins fewer than the 15 wins combined during the previous two seasons.
The turnaround continued the next season, as USA raced out to a 16-5 record in its first 21 games and posted the first winning season since the 1989-90 season with a 17-11 record. The next year, the Lady Jags finished 22-7 after opening the season with a 14-1 record and won the division crown for the consecutive year.
During Pietri's tenure, the Jags posted a 130-54 (.707) record at home, including setting an arena record with 14 home wins during the 2008-09 season.
The Jags finished with a winning record in five of his last six years, including three consecutive years with a 17-13 record from 2010-11 through the 2012-13 season.