Central Connecticut State University women's basketball head coach Beryl Piper has announced her retirement following 13 seasons at the helm of the Blue Devils. A 1987 graduate of CCSU, Piper is the program's all-time Division I wins leader with 150 victories. Piper is also one of just 12 former women's basketball members in the CCSU Alumni Athletics Hall of Fame.
Following Friday's announcement, CCSU assistant coach Kerri Reaves has been named the Interim Head Coach for the 2020-21 season for the Blue Devils.
"Coach Piper has raised the bar for women's basketball at CCSU and her impact on the program will be clear for years to come," CCSU President Dr. Zulma Toro stated. "She will always be a Blue Devil, and I wish Coach Piper health and happiness in her retirement and thank her for her many years of commitment to CCSU."
Piper was selected to the CCSU Alumni Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999 and has also been recognized with the Rebecca McCord Award for Athletic and Academic Excellence and the Harrison J. Kaiser Alumni Service Award from Central Connecticut State University.
Piper led the Blue Devils to a pair of postseason tournament appearances in her tenure. The 2014-15 team won a share of the Northeast Conference regular season crown for the first time in program history. Central won a program-record 14 conference games and faced Fordham in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The 2008-09 team earned the school's first postseason berth when it won 18 games and played Boston University in the WNIT.
Under Piper, the Blue Devils had a pair of 19-win campaigns in 2010-11 and 2014-15, marking their best win totals since moving to Division I. Her 150 career wins ranks second in Central annals and her CCSU program advanced to the NEC semifinals five times. In addition to being named the 2015 Brenda Reilly Northeast Conference Coach of the Year, Piper mentored eight players who earned All-NEC honors and a pair who earned Academic All-District recognition. Her Blue Devils squads were also successful in the classroom and were recognized with NCAA Public Recognition Awards for a perfect APR score on three occasions.
Piper returned to her alma mater after a successful 19-year run at New Britain High School where she won three state titles and accumulated 289 wins. Among her many accolades while coaching the Golden Hurricanes was being named Connecticut High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year, being presented with the Merit Award by the CIAC Girls Basketball Committee and being named the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance Doc McInerney Coach of the Year in a female sport. In 2008 she was inducted into the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame.
Piper's career at Central as an undergraduate began after coming from Trumbull High School. She was a four-year basketball standout under the legendary Brenda Reilly and was co-captain of the 1985-86 squad as a senior which went 24-4. That team, which reached the NCAA Division II quarterfinals, holds the record for most wins and best winning percentage in program history. Piper also played for the Blue Devils softball team and won the Gail Rutz Award as a senior as CCSU's outstanding female student-athlete. She went on to play professionally for Team Blarney in Ireland, where she was part of the 1986-87 national championship team.