Longtime Coach Named New Leader of Chargers' Women's Basketball Program

Longtime Coach Named New Leader of Chargers' Women's Basketball Program



WEST HAVEN, Conn. - New Haven Director of Athletics Chris Palmer announced the hiring of Deborah Buff as the 18th women's basketball coach in the 43 year history of the program. Buff comes to West Haven following a seven-year stint at Wheeling Jesuit University (Wheeling, W.V.) which included back-to-back Mountain East Conference Championships and NCAA Division II tournament appearances. 

"I am excited to welcome Debbie to the Charger Nation Family," said Palmer. "Debbie has a proven history of success and we anticipate her developing competitive student-athletes who thrive to compete at the highest levels. I look forward to her leading our program to continued success in the future." 

"I am humbled and honored to be named Head Women's Basketball Coach at the University of New Haven," said Buff. "This opportunity enables me to be closer to my family and coach in the Northeast-10 conference."

Buff took over the Wheeling Jesuit program in 2011 and in five years led her first full recruiting class to the first of back-to-back Mountain East Conference Championships in 2015-16. The Cardinals finished that season with a 27-6 overall record, which tied the school record for most victories in a single season. 

The Cardinals followed that up with a second-straight 25-win season, Mountain East Championship and subsequent trip to the NCAA Division II regional championship. Over her seven years in West Virginia, Buff collected a 111-93 overall record for a .544 winning percentage. Over her seven years, the Cardinals finished with a plus-.500 record on four occasions. 

"My goal is to work with outstanding student-athletes and build a championship program," continued Buff. "The future of Charger women's basketball is very bright. A special thanks to Athletic Director Chris Palmer for this amazing opportunity. His vision and philosophy about building a program is both refreshing and exciting."

Prior to Wheeling Jesuit, Buff spent two seasons at Endicott College where she led the Gulls to the most wins in school history with a 23-6 record in 2008-09 and an appearance in the championship game of the Commonwealth Coast Conference. In her two seasons at Endicott, she compiled an overall record of 42-14. 

Her first stint as a head coach came at the Rochester Institute of Technology where her five-plus year career was highlighted by Empire 8 Coach of the Year accolades in 2006-07 when she led the Tigers to the most victories in the history of the RIT women's basketball program and the program's first ever appearance in the Empire 8 and ECAC Championships.

Prior to her collegiate head coaching career, Buff served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at fellow Northeast-10 opponent Saint Rose where she helped lead the Golden Knights to the 2000 NCAA Division II Northeast Region Championship, a 34-1 record and a nationally ranking as high as No. 1 in the country. 

Previous to joining a college program, Buff spent 14 years as the head coach at Bishop Maginn High School in Albany. In her time there, she recorded 203 wins and 57 losses while capturing five Big 10 Conference Championships, a Section II title, a regional title and a New York State Class A title. A Hall of Famer at Bishop Maginn, Buff was named the New York State Coach of the Year following the team's 1996 state title run. 

A graduate from the State University of New York College at Cortland with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education, she also holds a Master's Degree in health education from Russell Sage College. During her time at Cortland, she competed three years for the women's basketball team before turning her attention to training for the Skylon International Marathon in New York.

The NE10 is an association of 15 diverse institutions serving student-athletes across 24 NCAA Division II sports. Together we build brilliant futures by embracing the journey of every student-athlete.

Each year, 4,500 of those student-athletes compete in conference championships in 24 sports, making the NE10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the NE10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.