Director of Athletics Brendan Sullivan hands the ball to Chris Kraus, '06, the 14th men's basketball coach in Stonehill history. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)
2006 Stonehill graduate takes over program after three seasons as assistant
EASTON, Mass. (July 16, 2013) – Stonehill College has named Chris Kraus, '06, as its 14th head men's basketball coach in program history. The announcement was made today by Brendan Sullivan, director of intercollegiate athletics at the College and confirmed by president Rev. John Denning, CSC, and Pauline Dobrowski, interim vice president for student affairs.
"I am thrilled to announce Chris Kraus as the next head coach of Stonehill men's basketball," said Sullivan. "In seeking the next coach, I sought an individual who possesses the knowledge, passion and character to enhance the strong tradition of excellence that the program is synonymous with. For those reasons, coupled with his strong recruiting ability as well as innumerable contributions to our recent success made Chris the right candidate to be our next head coach. Further, as an alumnus of Stonehill and the basketball program, I know Chris is committed to enhancing our success and I have complete confidence that the Stonehill basketball will flourish under his guidance."
Kraus takes over after serving as former head coach David McLaughlin's top assistant coach for three seasons prior McLaughlin resigning last month to accept the associate head coach position at Northeastern University. Stonehill averaged 20 wins over Kraus' three seasons as assistant coach, reaching the NCAA Tournament twice, including the 2011-12 season when the Skyhawks posted 25 wins and captured both the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament and NCAA Division II East Regional crown on its way to the national semifinal round at the Elite Eight.
"I want to thank Brendan Sullivan, Fr. John Denning and the entire Stonehill athletic department for the opportunity to lead the men's basketball program," said Kraus. "It is a great honor to be named the head coach at Stonehill and I couldn't be more excited to start working and continue to build on our program's strong tradition. I am confident that our program will continue to attract great student-athletes, ones that our players, community, supporters and alumni can be proud of."
Kraus has coordinated a national and regional recruiting effort at Stonehill, which included extensive evaluation of potential scholarship level student-athletes. In addition to extensive scouting and opponent breakdown from film and live scouting during the season, he was integral to on-court instruction and game planning. Kraus oversaw the academic support and monitoring system for the team, with the team producing a 2.90 cumulative grade point average, including a 2.94 GPA during the spring 2013 semester, which included five freshmen.
Kraus, a native of Toronto, Ontario, has ties to both Elite Eight teams that reached the national semifinal round in Stonehill men's basketball history and is the first alumnus of the program to be named head coach. As a student-athlete within the program from 2002-2006, Kraus was a member of the 2005-06 squad that won a program-record 27 games and earned the program's first regional championship and trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in Springfield, Mass. Along with the team's national semifinal round run during his senior season, Kraus earned All-Northeast-10 Conference honors, was named to the NCAA Northeast Region All-Tournament Team and with his play was amongst the nation's leaders in a number of statistical categories. He trained with the Canadian Senior Men's National Team from 2002-2005, and won a silver medal playing for Canada at the World Junior Championships in France in 1999.
After graduating from Stonehill in 2006, Kraus spent some time playing professionally in England for London United before returning home to begin his coaching career. He was an assistant at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, where he assisted the team in capturing the AUS Conference championship and a berth in the national tournament. He then spent two seasons as the top assistant at Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada, helping the team earn back-to-back GPAC conference titles.
"Stonehill is adding a talented young coach to a wonderful athletic department and staff and I am thrilled for Chris to have this opportunity," said McLaughlin. "Chris brings a great work ethic, and has a high level of passion for the sport and the student-athletes he works with. His playing and coaching experience serve as a great foundation for this next stage in his career. To have an alumni and former player continue the tradition of excellence within the Stonehill basketball family is truly special."
Stonehill is coming off a 2012-13 season in which it posted an 11-15 record overall, including a 7-15 mark in Northeast-10 play. The Skyhawks are scheduled to open their 2013-14 season on Saturday, November 9, with its NE-10 opener against Merrimack College in Merkert Gym on Wednesday, November 20.
With 20 intercollegiate sports, Stonehill boasts one of the top athletic and academic programs in the country. The Skyhawks have finished in the top three in the final NE-10 Presidents' Cup standings nine straight years, winning the Cup four times, including a streak of three-straight from 2009-10 through 2011-12. This prestigious award is given to the top performing athletic school in the Northeast-10, across all sports and seasons. Stonehill has received the NCAA Division II Presidents' Award for Academic Achievement each of the first two years if the program's existence of honoring programs with an Academic Success Rate (ASR) of 90-percent or better. The Skyhawks have earned a 97% Academic Success Ranking (ASR) by the NCAA, which considers the academic success rate of the institution based on the graduation rate of student-athletes, good for fifth among all NCAA Division II institutions, with nine Skyhawk teams receiving a perfect rating of 100%. In addition, the Skyhawks are ranked sixth in the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) Power Rankings used to assess the academic and athletic standards of all NCAA and NAIA athletic programs.