New head basketball coaches Rebecca Tillett and Griff Aldrich are preparing for their ﬁrst season at Longwood.
March and April were exciting months for Longwood’s men’s and women’s basketball programs, as both installed new head coaches: Griff Aldrich and Rebecca Tillett.
Aldrich took over the men’s program in late March, and Tillett stepped into the head coaching position for the women’s program three weeks later. The two received a formal introduction to the Longwood community on April 26 in front of a crowd that ﬁlled the Martinelli Board Room in the Maugans Alumni Center to capacity.
“This is a tremendous day for Longwood University,” Longwood Director of Athletics Troy Austin said at the gathering, introducing the new head coaching pair standing next to President W. Taylor Reveley IV.
“We’re fortunate to have hired two individuals who not only share a unique passion and knowledge for the game of basketball but also for developing young people and using the game as a means to help them grow. Their past success, both as coaches and professionals, speaks to their abilities as leaders and educators, and we’re thrilled to be able to call both Coach Aldrich and Coach Tillett Lancers.”
Both Aldrich and Tillett come to Longwood on the heels of noteworthy success in Division I basketball, with each playing key roles on their respective coaching staffs before joining the Lancers.
Aldrich garnered national recognition as a member of the staff of 2018 NCAA Tournament darling UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County). The school became a household name after upsetting No. 1 Virginia in historic fashion in the ﬁrst round of the tournament. A native of Virginia’s Tidewater area, Aldrich served as UMBC’s director of recruiting and program development from 2016-18 and acted as chief of staff for head coach Ryan Odom, his college teammate at Hampden-Sydney and son of legendary college coach Dave Odom.
'Their past success, both as coaches and professionals, speaks to their abilities as leaders and educators ... .'W. TAYLOR REVELEY IV, PRESIDENT
Success at UMBC was only one stop along Aldrich’s diverse, winning career path. After being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and graduating magna cum laude from Hampden-Sydney in 1996, Aldrich earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. From there, he rejoined his college basketball coach, Tony Shaver, on the Hampden-Sydney bench for the 1999-2000 season, helping the Tigers to a No. 1 national ranking.
Aldrich then embarked on a successful 16-year career in law and business. He rose to chief ﬁnancial ofﬁcer for a national energy investment ﬁrm while also maintaining his passion for coaching by holding head coaching positions for more than a decade at the AAU level.
Meanwhile Rebecca Tillett, also on a path that would lead to Longwood, parlayed a decorated high-school coaching career in Virginia into an impactful four-year tenure on the bench at the U.S. Naval Academy. At Navy, she ascended to associate head coach of the program in her last two seasons and helped the Mids to an 81-47 record. In her last season, 2017-18, Navy set the program’s single-season wins record at 25-8 and reached both the Patriot League Championship game and the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) for the second-straight year.
A 1998 graduate of William & Mary and a native of Williamsburg, Tillett enjoyed similar success as a high-school head coach, building both Forest Park and Osbourn Park into girls’ basketball powerhouses in Virginia. Along with her coaching success, Tillett was equally decorated as a high-school teacher, earning recognition as the 2006 KidBiz3000 Teacher of the Year at Osbourn Park and a SPARK Award Hero in Education honor in 2010 at Forest Park.
Since their arrival, both Aldrich and Tillett have been busy assembling their coaching staffs, implementing their style of play and culture among their returning student-athletes, and shoring up their respective recruiting classes.