MANCHESTER, N.H. – While nearly 500 people entered into the Southern New Hampshire University Field House to celebrate the 33-year career of men's basketball head coach Stan Spirou on Friday night, those fans, colleagues, friends and family members would walk out of the space the legendary figured called home since the mid-1980s, with a new name on the court and above the doors, as the University officially unveiled the new name of the facility – the Stan Spirou Field House – near the end of the night.
"Stan Spirou has been an amazing coach and his legacy here at the University is an incredible one," said University President, Paul LeBlanc, who made the announcement. "We do not name a lot of buildings for people; they have to be titans in the history of SNHU and Stan Spirou certainly fits that bill."
The program included plenty of speakers that knew Spirou well, including Dick Gustafson, who served as president of the institution from 1987 until 2003, Carmen Giampetruzzi, who captained Spirou's first team back in 1985-86, and Spirou's own children, Kelly Burnett, Nina Day and Chuck Spirou. It also featured video "thank yous" from long-time University of New Hampshire head coaches Sean McDonnell and Dick Umile, WMUR News 9 Sports anchors Jamie Staton and Jason King, and fellow Manchester sports teams, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Manchester Monarchs, among many others. A video tribute, detailing Spirou's illustrious career, also played for the crowd that filled in to pay homage to one of the greatest Division II coaches of all-time.
It was the revealing of the new logo that will adorn the Field House court and the lettering above the main entrance spelling out "Stan Spirou Field House," however, that will forever etch Spirou into the fabric of Southern New Hampshire University.
"It is a tremendous honor," said Spirou. "When you love coming to work every day, it is not just because you enjoy your job, but that you enjoy the people you work with, as well. The relationships I have formed over my career here are what I will take with me and I am humbled to have my name included with those that transformed this institution into what I consider one of the greatest academic stories."
Spirou was named the head coach at then-New Hampshire College on July 2, 1985, and proceeded to win 640 games, capture eight conference championships, earn five Elite Eight berths and make a pair of Final Four appearances before calling it a career on Feb. 28 of this year.
"The impact Coach Spirou has had over four decades transcends basketball, and the positive effect he has had on the both the University and Penmen Athletics is unparalleled," Director of Athletics Anthony Fallacaro stated. "It is fitting his name will adorn the facility he called home, for all time."
Spirou finished with a 640-341 record, good for a .652 winning percentage over 981 total games. He closed his career as the 11th longest tenured active head coach in NCAA Division II, with only three others having been at the helm of their current team for longer than Spirou, and only one of those featuring a higher winning percentage. His 640 victories ranked 25th amongst active NCAA coaches at all three divisions, while they placed him fourth amongst active Division II coaches and seventh all-time in DII. Spirou is the winningest coach in New Hampshire basketball history, regardless of division, while he ranks fourth all-time in New England, including first for DII.
Spirou, who averaged an impressive 19.4 victories per season over the length of his career, recorded 17 20-win campaigns and finished at .500 or better 27 times in 33 seasons. He produced a record of 43-22 (.662) in conference tournament games, capturing NECC championships in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998 and 1999, as well as Northeast-10 titles in 2013 and 2016. Spirou qualified for 18 NCAA Tournaments, going 23-18 (.561) against the best of the best. Five times he won regional crowns to advance to the Elite Eight (1987, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2015) and twice his teams earned a spot in the Final Four (1993, 1994).
Spirou was a four-time NECC Coach of the Year (1993, 1994, 1995, 1999), the 2015 NE10 Coach of the Year, a three-time National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Northeast Coach of the Year (1990, 1994, 1995) and the 1994 Division II Bulletin National Coach of the Year.
Spirou has coached five All-Americans, 15 All-Region selections, 27 All-Conference honorees and more than 150 total student-athletes during his Penmen career.
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