New UT coaches usher in new eraWritten by Toledo Free Press Staff Writers | | firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Toledo
Gene Cross knew he wanted to be a college basketball coach since he was a player at the University of Illinois. With that goal in mind, everything Cross has done from that point forward has led him to where he stands now as he enters his first season as the head men’s basketball coach at the UT.
Cross is leading the Rockets’ basketball program into a new era as UT will be playing its games in a newly renovated Savage Arena.
“The Toledo basketball program has a great tradition, and I’m looking forward to building on that tradition,” Cross said. “Savage Arena is going to be a tremendous facility, and it’s our goal to have a team that will make our fans proud and fill the arena.”
A Chicago native who played at Illinois, Cross spent the past two seasons at Notre Dame as assistant coach/recruiting coordinator under head coach Mike Brey. The Fighting Irish qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each season, going 24-8 in 2006-07 and 25-8 in 2007-08, as Brey was named Big East Coach of the Year both seasons.
Prior to his stint with the Fighting Irish, Cross served as an assistant at Virginia and DePaul under head coach Dave Leitao and Illinois-Chicago under head coach Jimmy Collins.
Tricia Cullop was named the University of Toledo women’s basketball coach on April 18, becoming the ninth coach in the history of the program.
Cullop came to Toledo from the University of Evansville, where she coached for eight seasons and built the Purple Aces into one of the best programs in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). She guided her teams to a 73-48 record during the past four campaigns, including 45-27 in league action. Last season Evansville was 21-12, 13-5 in the Missouri Valley, en route to a share of the school’s first regular-season MVC title and a berth in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. For her achievements, Cullop was named the Missouri Valley “Coach of the Year.”
“I’m ecstatic about the opportunity to be the head coach at Toledo,” said Cullop, whose team will be playing this season in a brand-new Savage Arena. “I’m excited to have a chance to coach in what will be an unbelievable basketball arena and to work with Mike O’Brien. Toledo has everything a beautiful campus, a very supportive administration and all the amenities that make it a great place for student-athletes to grow and prosper. Knowing where this program has been, and knowing its potential to be great again makes this an exciting opportunity for me.
“I would like to add that one of the most attractive things about the UT women’s basketball program is its extremely loyal fan base. As we improve the program, I expect more fans will come out and support us and make the new Savage Arena a fantastic home-court advantage.”