Entering his 24th year directing the Keene State women's basketball program, Keith Boucher is looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding the Owls into a team that will contend for the Little East Conference championship and return to post-season play.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and either will be the Owls. Losing four starters from last season's 19-10 team that advanced to the semifinal round of the LEC tournament and reached the finals of the ECAC New England Chmpionship, Boucher understands he must practice patience as he set about the task of rebuilding Keene State into contenders for the conference crown.
"Obviously,there a big learning curve with a young team," said Boucher. "But in some respects it’s invigorating because the team has a lot of youthful exuberance as they make the adjustment to the college game."
Closing in on his 350th career win (340-280, .548 pct.), Boucher has led the Owls to post-season berths five out of the past seven seasons, including an ECAC championship in 2010 and an NCAA Tournament at-large berth in 2006-07.
Under Boucher’s direction, the Owls had their most their most successful season in Division III and the Little East Conference in 2007 with a program best second place LEC finish and first ever NCAA Division III NCAA tournament berth, advancing to the second-round.
Adjustments are nothing new for Boucher, who has seen the team's success fluctuate with each season. He inherited a NECC championship squad in 1989-90 that posted a 23-7 record and became KSC's first-ever women's basketball NCAA Tournament team. The Owls returned to post-season play a few years later, when they reached the ECAC Championship game in 1992-93.
Since moving to Division III and the LEC in 1997, the Owls have made six trips to the ECAC tournament, capturing the crown in 2010. They earned their first-ever LEC championship berth in 2004-05, and culminated their 10-year Division III tenure with its 2007 NCAA tournament berth.
A graduate of Plymouth State, where he played football and baseball, Boucher went on to receive his master's degree in physical education from Norwich University. The Lebanon, N.H., native began his coaching career as the boys' basketball coach at Timberlane High School and softball coach at Hanover High School, before returning to Norwich as assistant men's basketball coach. After serving in a trial basis for a year, he was officially named the Owls eighth coach in the fall of 1990.
Boucher wants his athletes to succeed at Keene State. "I tell all my kids when they come into my program that I want them to be good at three things; first and most importantly, to be a good person, second to be a good student, and third to be a good basketball player."
Always putting a competitive team on the floor, Boucher has gained a solid reputation for his meticulous preparation, and for getting his players to perform at their highest level. He will use the same positive approach as he incorporates a young group a players into a successful team this season.