Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford announced Mike Leflar as the next head coach of the University of Massachusetts women’s basketball program on Monday afternoon.
“I am thrilled to promote associate head coach Mike Leflar to serve as our Massachusetts women’s basketball head coach,” said Bamford. “Mike has been an integral part of our success since his arrival in 2018. His efforts have contributed to the winningest era in program history and we feel strongly that he is the ideal leader to both support the personal development of our student-athletes and to continue the program’s ascent competitively. Mike is an experienced tactician, a passionate and genuine recruiter and someone we have watched build impactful relationships within our department and throughout the UMass athletics community.”
Leflar will be officially introduced as the next head coach of the Massachusetts women’s basketball program at a press conference at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12 in the Massachusetts room on the third floor of the Mullins Center (live stream details to be announced).
Leflar assumes his new role with 20 years of collegiate coaching experience with the previous five seasons coming at UMass, including the past season and a half as the program’s associate head coach.
“I am honored and grateful to be the next head coach of the University of Massachusetts women’s basketball program,” Leflar said. “A special thanks to Director of Athletics, Ryan Bamford, and Deputy Director of Athletics, Kirsten Britton, for their support throughout this process and their confidence in me moving forward. This is a professional dream come true. The past five years at UMass have been extraordinary for my family and I. We had historic success on the court. More importantly, we built great relationships with our student-athletes and the surrounding community and we are excited to call UMass home for many years to come. I want our student-athletes to love their entire UMass experience and I am excited for that responsibility starting today.”
Leflar joined the Massachusetts women’s basketball family as an assistant coach beginning with the 2018-19 season and was then promoted to the role of associate head coach in December of 2021.
Leflar has been an integral part of building the most successful era in Massachusetts women’s basketball, helping the program to its first regular-season Atlantic 10 championship this past season after the program earned its first Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship in 2021-22, while adding an NCAA Tournament berth in 2022 to go along with WNIT appearances in 2021 and 2023.
The 2022-23 season turned into one of the most successful campaigns in program history as the Minutewomen posted a 27-7 overall record and a 14-2 mark in A-10 play while qualifying for the WNIT and advancing to the second round for just the third time in program history. In the first round of the WNIT, Massachusetts defeated Albany for win No. 27 of the season, marking the highest single season win total in program history.
Massachusetts also posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in 2021-22 and 2022-23 and during the middle of the 2022-23 season put together a program-best, 12-game winning streak. The 14 Atlantic 10 victories in 2022-23 also marked the most league wins in a season. The offense posted the highest scoring average (76.2 ppg) since the 1979-80 season and it marked the third straight season Massachusetts led the A-10 in scoring.
Experienced working with guards, forwards and centers, Leflar most recently worked closely with the Minutewomen forwards, including 2023 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year, Sam Breen. Under Leflar’s guidance, Breen developed into one of the most decorated players in program history and earned back-to-back Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors in 2022 and 2023.
In 2022-23, Breen averaged 17.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 47.5% from the field and adding 46 three-pointers. She shattered a 43-year-old career points record, finishing with 1,974 points while also scoring the most points in a single season in 2022-23 (589). Breen ranks second in program history in rebounding (1,154) and in 2022-23, she was selected to the A-10 All-Conference First Team, named the ECAC Player of the Year, landed on the All-ECAC First Team and was named to the FIU Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament Team.
During the 2021-22 season, Leflar and the Minutewomen had a historic run as the program won its first Atlantic 10 Tournament championship to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for its first appearance since 1998. The No. 3-seeded Minutewomen defeated No. 1 seed Dayton in the title game to hoist the A-10 trophy.
Throughout that 2021-22 season, UMass made history by receiving votes in a national poll for the first time since the 1994-95 season and earned votes five times during the year. Individually, Breen and Destiney Philoxy become the 21st and 22nd Minutewomen to eclipse the 1,000th career point plateau. Both Philoxy and Breen played in their 100th career games on the year, as well.
Massachusetts has played in the Atlantic 10 Championship game in each of the past three seasons and in the five seasons since Leflar joined the staff the Minutewomen posted a combined 105-49 (.682) record.
Prior to joining the Massachusetts staff, Leflar spent the previous three seasons with Northeastern. He was promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach prior to the 2017-18 campaign. In his final season with the Huskies, they won 16 games including a program-record 11 victories in the CAA, capping the season with a trip to the WBI Tournament. That marked the program’s first postseason appearance since 1999.
Leflar came to Northeastern following a stint as Binghamton’s associate head coach in 2014-15. In his one season in New York, he spearheaded recruiting initiatives and was instrumental in beginning the rebuilding process for the Bearcats.
He spent a total of 10 seasons at Boston University both as an assistant coach (2004-12) and associate head coach (2012-14). Under Leflar’s tutelage, the Terriers were crowned America East regular season champions in 2009 and 2012 and reached the WNIT on four occasions (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013). Along with his role in developing offensive and defensive schemes, he led instruction for the team’s guards and post players.
Before his first coaching stop in Boston, he served in an assistant capacity at the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked with post players and helped the Quakers bring home the 2004 Ivy League title.
A native of Horsham, Pennsylvania, Leflar graduated from Boston College in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, while also completing minors in American studies and black studies.A10 UMass