NEWMAC Coach of the Year 2003-04, 2004-05, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2021-2022
Chris Bartley enters his 22nd season as the head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2021-2022. He begins the season with a 394-153 record (.720).
2021-2022 proved to be a year for the record books for head coach Chris Bartley and the men’s basketball program as they captured the NEWMAC regular season title and tournament championship for the first time since 2013. The Engineers earned the program’s 14th trip to the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball tournament advancing to the sectional final for the first time since 1985 ending with a 27-3 record including a perfect 15-0 in Harrington Auditorium.
Coach Bartley’s crew compiled many postseason accolades including John Lowther, the 2022 NEWMAC Men’s Basketball Tournament MVP, and John Adams, D3hoops.com’s National Rookie of the Year, earning All-NEWMAC first team alongside Colin McNamara with second team recognition. Lowther and Adams brought in regional praise from D3hoops and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) along with additional honors from the NABC for the Team Academic Excellence award and Austin Zhou, Ben Sseruwagi, McNamara, and Kahleb Downing were selected to the Honors Court.
Following the 2021-2022 season, Chris Bartley was inducted to the 38th Class of the WPI Athletics Hall of Fame (Class of 2020, 2021, 2022) as the winningest coach in school history with 394 victories and a .720 winning percentage.
In 2019, the Engineers posted a 20-8 season and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after the team advanced to the NEWMAC tournament championship game for the third straight season.
The winningest coach in WPI history, Bartley is 37th all-time in NCAA Division III winning % and 13th among active coaches. He has built WPI into one of the top NCAA Division III programs in the country leading the Engineers to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, 10 NEWMAC regular season championships, four NEWMAC conference tournament championships (2005, 2006, 2013 & 2022), and an ECAC championship (2012). The Engineers have won 20+ games in 15 of the past 20 seasons—a remarkable display of consistency. Bartley has compiled a 382-115 record (76%) over the past 18 seasons and is 394-153 (72%) overall. He took over the program in 2001 after WPI had lost 27 consecutive games, and in just his third season led WPI to a 20-win season and the school’s first of nine NEWMAC regular season titles.
Bartley, a six-time NEWMAC Coach of the Year was named the Glenn Robinson National Coach of the Year in 2013 when he led the program to a record 22 consecutive victories, NEWMAC regular season, and NEWMAC tournament championships. In 2020, he received the Worcester Area College Basketball Association Coach of the Year award. WPI has been a fixture in the top 25 national rankings by D3hoops.com including as high as No. 2 in 2013 and No. 3 in 2014.
Coach Bartley has developed some of the top performers in WPI and NEWMAC history. Ryan Cain won the prestigious Jostens Award in 2007 as the top Division III student-athlete in men’s basketball nationally. Cain also garnered All-American and All-New England accolades and was the NEWMAC Player of the Year in 2005 and 2007 and Rookie of the Year in 2004. He is the school’s all-time leading scorer. Other NEWMAC Players of the Year include Mike Prestileo in 2004, Antoine Coleman in 2008, and Jeff Robinson in 2011. Coleman and Robinson were All-American selections along with 2015 graduate Sam Longwell, the fourth all-time scorer on the hill. Matt Carr was named an Academic All-America selection in 2011 and 2012 (first team).
Constructing quality programs has been a trademark for Bartley as all three colleges he has coached earned the Most Improved Team in New England Award from the New England Basketball Coaches Association within three years of his arrival (WPI 2004, Babson 2000 and Wentworth 1996). Previous to WPI, he played a major role in building programs at Babson and Wentworth. He also served a stint as an assistant coach at NCAA Division II power Saint Anselm College.
A graduate of UMass-Lowell, Bartley was a successful head coach at Medford High School from 1997-1999, posting an impressive 41-5 record and winning two Greater Boston League Championships. He earned recognition as the Boston Globe’s Division I Coach of the Year in 1998 when he led his team to the North Sectional title and a trip to the Boston Garden for the State Semifinals.
Bartley and his program are involved in numerous community service projects including a long-time partnership with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization of Central Massachusetts and Team IMPACT. In April of 2008, Bartley received the Denise Nicoletti Trustees’ Award for Service to Community during the university’s annual Honors Convocation. Established in 2003, it is presented to a member of the faculty or staff in recognition of passion and action in serving the needs of the community in Professor Nicoletti’s honor. In 2005 Coach Bartley and his team were honored with the Edwin B. Coghlin ’23 Award for Community Service by WPI.