In only four seasons as head coach at Stony Brook, Trish Roberts is off to one of the fastest starts in the program's history. In her first three seasons, Roberts was 50-36, the best start in a coach's first three years since 1982-85, when Dec McMullen, the program's all-time wins leader, compiled a 50-27 record.
Entering the 2002-03 season, Roberts' fourth at Stony Brook and 12th overall, the Seawolves had a young squad that included just three players returning with more than one year of experience. Not only that, two of those players missed the first several games, leaving Roberts to rely on her four freshmen and some very inexperienced second-year players. Stony Brook finished the year 9-19 overall, but the Seawolves were fifth in the America East Conference standings, qualifying for the postseason tournament for the second straight season.
Sherry Jordan continued to excel, becoming the 11th player in the program's history to score more than 1,000 career points. She received All-America East first team honors for the second straight year, while redshirt freshman Danyelle Ingram was named to the All-Rookie Team. In 2001-02, Roberts achieved a milestone that marked her down not only in Stony Brook women's basketball history, but also in Stony Brook athletics. That season, the Seawolves became the first Stony Brook team to record a postseason victory at the Division I level, and also served as the first team to win a game in an America East Conference Tournament.
However, the Seawolves came up just short of earning the first-ever conference crown for Stony Brook, falling 50-47 to fifth-seeded and hometown favorite Hartford in the championship game to finish 16-14 overall. After finishing the regular season with a 14-13 record and seventh-place finish in the America East standings, the Seawolves turned it on for their debut in postseason play, and what a debut it was. Scoffing at its No. 7 seed, Stony Brook dominated its first two opponents,handing second-seeded Boston University a 63-46 loss in the opening round and beating No. 6 seed New Hampshire, 65-54.
Throughout the tournament, the Seawolves battled injuries and a thin roster, thanks to season-ending knee injuries to starting guard Theresa LoParrino in February and starter/reserve Heather Metz in the semifinals. But behind the scoring prowess and explosive ability of sophomore Sherry Jordan, Stony Brook nearly won the crown in its first season of America East play. Jordan capped off an outstanding sophomore campaign by earning NIT/Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association first team honors, in addition to All-America East and All-Tournament Team accolades.
Roberts was recognized for her team's exciting title run by winning Stony Brook's Female Coach of the Year Award, the second time in her first three seasons she earned the honor.
In the program's inaugural Division I season in 1999-00, Roberts led the Seawolves to 18 wins, the most by any first-year coach in Stony Brook women's basketball history. The 18 victories were also the fourth-most in a single-season and the fourth-most in NCAA history by a first-year Division I team. Before Roberts' arrival, the Seawolves won just eight games in their final season at the Division II level. The turnaround was noticed by the Basketball Coaches Assocation of New York, which awarded Roberts the 1999-00 Coach of the Year award. In 2000-01, Stony Brook posted a 16-12 mark with a team composed of eight freshmen and no seniors. For the first time since 1995, Stony Brook won 10 games or more and finished above the .500 mark in back-to-back seasons. Dec McMullen won 16 in 1992-93 and 18 in 1993-94.
After Maine, Roberts assumed the head coaching position at the University of Michigan. Beset by injuries and low roster numbers, Roberts kept the Wolverines competitive in the tough Big Ten Conference. While at Michigan, she had two players earn All-Big Ten honors and earn a spot on the SportsChannel Chicago All-Freshman Team. In 1994-95, one of her players was named the SportsChannel Chicago Freshman of the Year. At Michigan, Roberts continued her standard of academic success as seven players earned Academic All-Big Ten honors during her tenure. Roberts then moved on to the professional ranks, becoming the head coach of the new Atlanta Glory of the American Basketball League in 1996-97. She led the Glory to an 18-22 mark in their inaugural season. Prior to her head coaching duties at Maine and Michigan, Roberts held assistant positions at the University of North Carolina (1986-88), the University of Wisconsin (1985-86), the University of Illinois (1984-85) and Central Michigan University (1982-84).
In addition to her collegiate and professional coaching experience, Roberts has coached in the international arena as well. In 1992, she was an assistant coach with the U.S. Junior National Team that competed in the World Junior Championships. Prior to that, she guided the U.S. Olympic Festival West team to a silver medal in 1990. In 1987, she worked as an athlete liaison for the U.S. Olympic Committee at the World University Games and from 1988-96 she served as a member the of the U.S. Basketball Selection Committee.
In 1976, Roberts earned a spot on the United States Olympic team and went on to win a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Montreal. On that team, she played with the now legendary Pat Summitt, and after the Olympics she transferred to the University of Tennessee to play under Summitt. She went on to represent the United States at the World University Games in 1978 and as the captain of the 1979 U.S. National Team.
Honors and Accolades
In September of 2003, Roberts earned yet another prestegious honor when she, along with five other former athletes and administrators, was enshrined into the Tennessee Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame.
In addition to those accolades, Roberts is a member of the Emporia State College Hall of Fame (1994) and the Women In Sports and Education Hall of Fame (1996).