Beginning his 35th season on the bench for Sacred Heart University, head coach Dave Bike has guided the Pioneers on a succession of steps that resulted in a Division II National Championship through the transition to Division I and culminating with his 500th career victory. When the games tip-off in 2012-13, Bike will coach in his 1,000th career game when the Pioneers open against Yale in the CT 6 Classic.
Bike owns a 520-479 career record into this season, all for the only program he has ever coached. He currently ranks 20th among active NCAA coaches in wins and only Jim Boeheim of Syracuse has been at one institution longer.
Bike and the Pioneers will begin their 14th season as a member of the Northeast Conference in 2012-13. He led his Pioneers back to the postseason last season, qualifying for the NEC Tournament as the eighth seed. In SHU’s short Division I history, Bike has led the Pioneers to the NEC Tournament six times and coached his club to the title game in back-to-back seasons in 2007 and 2008. He ranks first among his NEC peers in career victories and in 2010-11 with a 77-75 win at home over Holy Cross, he earned the 500th win of his career.
The transition to Division I and the Northeast Conference began for Sacred Heart in 1999-2000. In their first year of eligibility for the NEC playoffs, his team nearly knocked off eventual champion Central Connecticut State University in the semi-finals. He led his 2006-07 team to an 18-14 record and 12-6 mark in the league, good for second place. The Pioneers ran through Wagner, 100-68, and Quinnipiac, 83-69, en route to their first-ever title game appearance. SHU nearly pulled the upset over top-seed CCSU, as a late bucket by the Blue Devils beat the Pioneers 74-70.
Bike led his team to another 18-14 season the following year, posting a 13-5 NEC record for a third place finish. The Pioneers avenged their loss to Central Connecticut in the NEC quarterfinals, 84-71, and topped Wagner on the road, 55-49, to earn the right to host their first ever NEC Championship game. Bike’s Pioneers battled but a Mount St. Mary’s team kept the NCAA dream just out of reach for SHU once again with a 68-55 win.
His journey as the Pioneer’s leader began in 1978, taking the reins from the programs only other head coach, Donald Feely. Bike served double duty as Sacred Heart’s head men’s basketball coach and athletic director until 1992 when current Executive Director of Athletics C. Donald Cook was appointed the university’s fourth athletic director. Bike
Bike’s Sacred Heart teams captured five NCAA Division II Regional Championships and four New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) titles. During the 1980s, the Pioneers competed in a remarkable seven straight NCAA regional championship games. During that stretch his teams went an impressive 173-51 - winning 77.2 percent of their games.
Bike led the Pioneers to the NCAA Division II National title during the 1985-86 season. The 93-87 win over Southeast Missouri State in the championship game at the Springfield Civic Center just down the road from the Basketball Hall of Fame, was the first for a New England institution. Bike’s charges, led by All-American guard Roger Younger and Tony Judkins, finished the campaign an impressive 30-4.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) selected Bike as its National Coach of the Year in 1985-86. His coaching brethren also voted him NECC Coach of the Year three times. In 1990, Bike was presented the Doggie Julian Award for outstanding service by the New England Basketball Coaches Association (NEBCA).
In his youth, Dave Bike was perhaps one of the most gifted athletes from the State of Connecticut and certainly the best in the City of Bridgeport. He played with and against men from the region who went on the play professionally in both basketball and baseball who will tell you what a fierce competitor and athlete Dave Bike was.
At nearby Notre Dame High School, he was an outstanding baseball player as well as an All-New England and All-State basketball selection that elected to bypass scholarship offers from Fordham and Boston College to sign a professional baseball contract.
Bike caught professionally for eight seasons (1965-72) in the Detroit Tigers’ farm system, reaching the Triple-A level. He played semi-professional basketball for several clubs during the off-season. Just a width of the chalk line from the Major Leagues, Bike walked away from the game he loved to go college an embark on a career as a teacher and coach.
He returned home to Bridgeport and enrolled at Sacred Heart University and is a member of the third graduating class in school history. While a student, he served as an assistant coach to his predecessor, J. Donald Feeley during the 1965-66 and 1966-67 seasons and graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics. He returned to his alma mater in 1978 after four seasons as an assistant basketball coach at Division I Seattle University.
In recognition of his myriad of accomplishments, the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance presented Bike with its prestigious Gold Key Award in February 1993. He was inducted into the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, and his 1986 Championship team was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.
Bike, lives with his wife Judi (O’Connor) Bike ‘68 in North Haven. They are parents of four children, Kelly ‘91, Amy, Corey and Keith ‘01 MAT. Judi, Keith and Kelly are all SHU graduates, as are his son-in-law, Dan DeFrancesco ’87 and ’07 MBA, and sister, Marilyn Torre ‘87. They have four grandchildren, Maggie and Jack DeFrancesco, and Keira and Tyler Bike.