High School Coach
Ron Hanson's lasting impact on girls' and women's basketball in Connecticut came during its formative years. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association held its inaugural girls' state tournament in 1974. Ron began coaching the girls' basketball team at Ellington High School in 1975. During the 1979-1983 seasons, his teams captured the North Central Connecticut Conference four years in a row and won the State Championship three out of those four years.
Ron brought his talents to Quinnipiac College in the fall of 1983. He coached the Lady Braves to 25-plus victories in each of his two seasons as Head Coach at the Division II school. His teams captured the New England Collegiate Conference regular season and conference championships and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II tournament both years. His 1983-4 team, which had a 28-3 record in his inaugural season, is enshrined in the Quinnipiac Athletic Hall of Fame.
"Dr. Tom Davis, the men's basketball coach at Boston College, helped me define my philosophy and coaching style," Ron said. "One zone offense and one-man offense. One defense, press on every possession. Play 10 players. Never yell or swear. Make certain that each player knew their assignment and had the training to succeed. Don't worry about the other team; make sure that your players knew our stuff."
A 1964 graduate of Cheshire Academy, Ron played baseball and basketball there and is a member of the school's hall of fame. He went on to play baseball at Dickinson College and later graduated from UConn with a degree in political science in 1971. He received his teaching certificate from Central Connecticut State University and his master's degree from Springfield College in 1982.
Ron served as teacher, coach and athletic director at Ellington High school from 1974-2003. He began with girls' basketball. With a roster that included a fellow member of the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Lori (Kulo) Mathieu - a future UConn player - the Knights won four straight North Central Connecticut Conference titles and three consecutive state championships. Ellington won the Class S crown in 1981, edging Westbrook 50-49, before winning back-to-back Class M titles the next two seasons over Milford. The Knights topped Milford 54-51 in 1982 and again in 1983 by a 56-33 margin.
During his tenure at Ellington, Ron was also the varsity boys' basketball coach, junior varsity boys' basketball coach, boys' freshman coach, varsity golf coach and athletic director. He served stints as varsity boys' basketball coach at Somers High School and as assistant boys' coach at Hartford Public.
Ron coached the women's basketball team at Quinnipiac for two years. Following the success of the 1983-84 season, winning the New England Collegiate Conference championship and securing the team's first NCAA Division II tournament berth, Ron's team replicated that success in 1984-85, winning the league championship against Bridgeport and making a second NCAA appearance (Quinnipiac now competes at the Division I level). Ron was named 1983-84 NECC Women's Basketball Coach of the Year, 1984 New Haven Tap Off Club Connecticut Female College Coach of the Year and 1984-85 Women's Basketball Coaches' Association District Coach of the Year.
Ron, who is an accomplished golfer, and his wife Sandra live part time in Somers and the rest of the year in Lecanto, Florida. Sandra will present him for induction today in the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
Ron lists Ellington's first league championship in 1980 as his fondest moment in coaching - "I believed, and the players believed in what we were doing. The system worked," he said.