Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton has announced the appointment of Mark Gilbride to the position of head men’s basketball coach. Gilbride joins the Rensselaer staff from Clarkson University, where he has served as the head men’s basketball coach for the past five years. He replaces Mike Griffin, who retired from Rensselaer after 30 years of leading the program.
“I am thankful to President Jackson, Jim Knowlton, and everyone involved in the selection process for their confidence that I will successfully lead the men’s basketball program,” said Gilbride. “After visiting the campus, meeting staff and students, and experiencing the friendly environment, I knew Rensselaer was the right fit for me. I am thrilled to coach at RPI, a school with a strong academic and athletics tradition. Coach Griffin led a quality basketball program for a number of years and we will build on that foundation to create one of the best Division III basketball programs in the country.”
A native of Topsham, Maine, Gilbride posted a record of 75-51 (.595) in five seasons with the Clarkson University Golden Knights in Potsdam. He earned more victories in his first five seasons than any other basketball coach in Clarkson history. His winning percentage is the highest of any Clarkson basketball coach since 1936.
The Golden Knights enjoyed three winning seasons in a row in the Liberty League, the same conference Rensselaer participates in, for the first time in Clarkson’s five decades of league play. The most successful was last year when Gilbride led the team to a 10-6 league mark, which placed the team second, and earned them a trip to the tournament semifinals, where they lost in overtime to finish 16-10 overall. Their 2013-14 campaign was on the heels of a 17-8 (9-7) record in 2012-13—the best in school history—and a 16-9 (9-7) mark in 2011-12 when the team led the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Among the student-athletes Gilbride recruited and coached while in Potsdam were seven All-Liberty League selections, an All-Region honoree, and a Capital One National Academic All-America.
Prior to joining Clarkson, he spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach at three institutions at all three divisions of the NCAA. In 2008-09 while at Yale University, Gilbride helped guide the Bulldogs to second place in the Ivy League. Before arriving in New Haven, he served as an assistant coach at Stonehill College in Massachusetts, helping the Skyhawks to an 18-14 mark and a Northeast 10 semifinal appearance. He recruited the Class of 2012, which went on to break the school record for wins and advanced to the NCAA Division II National Semifinals. In his one season as an assistant coach at Division III power Amherst College in 2006-07, he helped the Lord Jeffs post a 30-2 record and the Division III National Championship.
A 2002 graduate of Bowdoin College with a degree in economics, Gilbride played with the Polar Bears before staying on as an assistant to begin his coaching career. He spent three seasons as the first assistant and recruiting coordinator, helping attract a class that broke the school record for wins in a season (22). Overall the team was 45-27 with three New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament appearances during his tenure.
As a player, Gilbride was a team captain and starting point guard in college, leading Bowdoin in assists for three years in a row, while playing for his father, Tim. Gilbride also enjoyed an outstanding high school career at Mount Ararat High School in Topsham, where he was a 1,000-point scorer and McDonald’s All-State selection.
Gilbride, who earned an MBA from UMass-Amherst in 2010, follows in his father’s footsteps on the sidelines. Tim Gilbride has been the head men’s basketball coach at Bowdoin for the past 29 years, accumulating 414 wins and four NCAA Tournament appearances. His uncle, Kevin, was a coach in the NFL, including serving as the head coach for the San Diego Chargers in the late 1990s. He most recently spent seven years as the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants, earning two Super Bowl rings.