By KIRK HARDCASTLE
NIACC sports information director
MASON CITY – NIACC’s Todd Ciochetto has been selected as the NJCAA Division II women’s basketball coach of the year on Thursday.
Ciochetto guided the Lady Trojans to an overall record of 32-1 in the 2019-20 season. The Lady Trojans were a perfect 16-0 in the ICCAC and claimed the NJCAA Region XI tournament title with a convincing win (95-73) over rival Kirkwood.
NIACC’s Autam Mendez who is the NJCAA Division II player of the year, said her coach is deserving of the national honor.
“He meant a lot to the team because he helped us grow into college student-athletes,” she said. “He devoted a lot of time to us and he trusted us, which helped us during our season.
“We knew he trusted us so we all trusted him, which helped us trust each other. He’s the type of coach you want to play for.”
Ciochetto called the award a “huge honor with all the great coaches in junior college women’s basketball.”
“However, you don’t get this award without winning games,” the coach said, “and you don’t win games without good players. I am blessed to have a roster full of really good players and better people.”
NIACC was the top seed for the NJCAA Division II national tournament in Port Huron, Mich. The tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
NIACC was fourth in NJCAA Division II for total points (2,971) and ranked sixth in points per game (90.0).
Ciochetto was selected as the 2019-20 ICCAC women’s basketball coach of the year. He was also the national coach of the year by World Exposure Report.
Ciochetto finished his sixth season as head coach at NIACC with a record of 153-46. Ciochetto’s teams have won NJCAA Region XI titles in 2016, 2019 and 2020.
“This team was very special to me and always will be,” Ciochetto said. “They were selfless and played for each other. The way they reached out to the youth of our community was the most special part. This group made me a better coach.
“This season was special all the way around. It was the most enjoyable season I’ve ever had – not because of the 32 wins, but the fun we had doing it.”