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From History to Head Coach, UC a 'Perfect Fit' for Cronin

UC's men's basketball coach Mick Cronin values a life-long relationship with the university.

Date: 5/31/2009
By: Matt Cunningham
Phone: (513) 556-4190
Photos By: Provided by UC Athletics

Alumni may know the back story of UC men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin. After an injury in high school cut short a career as a player, the Cincinnati native began coaching, first as a high school junior varsity and varsity coach during his undergraduate studies in history, as assistant coach at UC and Louisville, then as head coach for Murray State University in Kentucky. He assumed the role as UC’s head coach in 2006.


But few may realize that Cronin’s current position is the culmination of a life-long dream of the 1996 history alumnus.


Photo of Mick Cronin during a 2008 basketball game.
Men's basketball coach Mick Cronin is a history alumnus and lifelong Bearcat.

“I grew up on this campus,” said Cronin, “coming to games here, with relatives living near campus. UC’s always been a huge part of my life.


“Once I set my career path (in coaching), it was always in the back of my mind that the ultimate would be to be the UC coach.”


Cronin said that, even though he entered his undergraduate studies with a clear career path in mind, his decision to pursue a degree in history was guided by the same forces that guide many undergraduates.


"We had some great professors," he said. "As a freshman and sophomore, that helped send me in that direction."


He added that the degree had benefits that went beyond the subject matter.


"A history degree from UC is a respected degree," he said. "I knew it wasn't going to be easy."


Working through that challenge helped prepare him for the challenges of the basketball court, and helped shape his approach to the position as UC's head coach.


“I’ve taken a long-term approach to the situation," he said. “I’m working on recruiting, building up and shaping the program in a way that our alumni can be proud and we can be a success on the court.”


He also added that his alumnus status gives him certain advantages.


“When I talk about our university to alumni, during community outreach or to recruits, I’m speaking from experience,” he said. “Very few coaches can say that.”


And as he charts the future for one of UC’s most visible athletics programs, Cronin said his ultimate goal is now to strike a continuing balance between on-court competitiveness, players’ academic success and collegiate pride.


“That’s my vision, and it’s why I came home,” he said. “In the long run for me, it’s a perfect fit.”

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