Mike Lonergan has built one of the finest college basketball programs in the nation. In the past six years, his Catholic University teams have averaged 25 wins a season, qualified for six NCAA Tournaments and won a national championship.
Lonergan's accomplishments have come without compromising his principles. He demands that his players exhibit character and integrity at all times. The result is a model program that produces champions on the court and successful men away from it.
Lonergan, now in his 12th year at CUA, was the only coach in the nation to lead his team to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen each year between 1998 and 2002. The Cardinals are 78-13 (.857) over the past three seasons and 150-29 (.838) since 1997-98. They advanced to the Elite Eight in 2000 and set a school winning percentage record (.897) in 2001-02.
Lonergan guided CUA to its finest moment in Salem, Va., on March 17, 2001 when his team rallied for a 76-62 victory over William Paterson in the NCAA Division III championship game. The Cardinals culminated the campaign with a school-record 28 victories and Lonergan became the school's all-time winningest coach in the title game.
CUA won five consecutive playoff games that year after trailing each time in the final 10 minutes. The first came at Widener, when down by 14 in the first half, the Cards emerged with a 69-67 victory. In the national semifinals, CUA stormed back from an 11-point deficit with 8:14 to play to vanquish then top-ranked Ohio Northern, 82-77.
Lonergan, who has led CUA to eight NCAA Tournaments, was a consensus choice for 2001 National Coach of the Year. He collected his second Middle Atlantic Region Coach of the Year honor that season and has been recognized as Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Coach of the Year four times.
Lonergan has the highest winning percentage (.735) in Cardinal history. He orchestrated CUA's sixth consecutive CAC regular-season title a year ago and fourth conference tournament championship the year before. The Cardinals are a blistering 76-8 (.905) in CAC regular-season play since 1997-98.
Lonergan's 12-7 career record in the NCAA Tournament includes five consecutive victories on the road. He is the only basketball coach in CUA history to lead his team to victory in the NCAA playoffs.
Lonergan, who has coached an All-American each of the past four years, received a special honor in 2000 when he won the first Jack Bruen Award for "unending dedication to the game of basketball." Lonergan played under Bruen at CUA. In 2001, Lonergan received the CUA Young Alumni Merit Award. Previous winners include New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman.
Lonergan's teams play one of the toughest schedules in the country. Previous opponents include Division I teams Princeton, American, Davidson and William and Mary. A victory over Albany (N.Y.) in 2000 was the school's first over a Division I team since 1981. The Cards played at Division II West Florida last season.
Before taking over the Cardinal basketball program in 1992, Lonergan was the top recruiter at Colgate University for three years under Bruen. In Lonergan's final season at Colgate (1991-92), the Red Raiders posted their best record in 18 years (14-14), won the Pepsi-Marist Classic and Bruen was named Patriot League Coach of the Year.
CUA, which won the 1999 adidas DIII Desert Shootout in Las Vegas, has traveled to play in New York, California, Florida and Connecticut. While winning the Whittier College Poet Classic in Los Angeles in 1997, the team practiced at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion and met former Bruin coach John Wooden.
Prior to his stint at Colgate, Lonergan was a graduate assistant for one season (1988-89) at American International College in Springfield, Mass., where he earned a master's in criminal justice.
Lonergan graduated from The Catholic University of America in 1988 with a B.A. in history. As a senior co-captain and starting point guard, he helped guide the team to a mark of 18-8, averaging 8.5 points, 5.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals. In 1985-86, the three-year starter helped the Cards (19-8) win the ECAC South Region Tournament.
A Salutatorian from nearby Archbishop Carroll High School, where he played basketball, baseball and soccer before graduating in 1984, Lonergan received the Georgetown University Outstanding Scholastic Achievement Award. A featured speaker at numerous camps and clinics, he has hosted his own highly successful camp at CUA for the past 11 summers.
Lonergan is active with the Knights of Columbus, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Special Olympics and the American Cancer Society's Coaches vs. Cancer program. While his teams have helped raise close to $13,000 to battle the disease over the past seven seasons, he has been a featured speaker at several national ACS events.
Michael Thomas Lonergan was born in Silver Spring, Md. His father, Jack, played on Holy Cross' NCAA baseball championship team in 1952. His late mother, Maureen, was one of the area's most successful soccer coaches at Seton High. His wife, the former Maggie Meagher, captained Mount St. Mary's to its first NCAA Division I Tournament berth in 1994 and now coaches the CUA women's team. They live in Bowie, Md., with their son Jack (3-8-99) and daughter Margaret (10-19-00).