After the full-time move to Pepsi Arena prior to the 1996-97 season, the program enjoyed a great renaissance that coincided with the arrival of Head Coach Paul Hewitt in 1997. Following seventh and eighth place finishes in the eight-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in the two years prior to his arrival; the Saints averaged 22 wins in Hewitt's three seasons at the helm. The run was highlighted by successive postseason appearances in his final two years, the first of which was a return-trip to the NCAA Tournament in 1999.
Louis Orr continued the success in 2000-2001, leading the program to another 20-win season. The following season, the Rob Lanier era began. Lanier became the first coach in program history to orchestrate consecutive postseason appearances in his first two years as head coach. In 2002, the Saints rallied from a sub-par regular-season to win four MAAC Tournament games, advancing to the NCAA Opening Round where they became just the second team in Tournament history to win a game with a losing record. Siena knocked off Alcorn State 81-77 in Dayton, Ohio before succumbing to eventual National Champion Maryland in Washington, D.C. two days later. In Lanier's second year of work, the Saints won 21 games including two Postseason NIT clashes on their home floor.
In 2005, an exciting new chapter in Siena basketball began as Fran McCaffery assumed the reigns as head coach. McCaffery made an immediate impact, guiding Siena to the fifth greatest turnaround in all of Division I in his first year, and to a 20-win season and MAAC title game appearance in his second season. In his third season, the Saints enjoyed one of the great years in program history, winning the MAAC regular-season and postseason championship before stunning #4 seed Vanderbilt in the NCAA Tournament First Round. During the 2008-09 season, McCaffery's Saints equaled a program-record with 27 wins and made another run to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. They won the MAAC regular-season and Tournament Championship before knocking off Ohio State 74-72 in double overtime in the First Round of the Big Dance. During McCaffery's final season in 2009-10, the Saints won their third straight MAAC Tournament Title and made a third straight postseason appearance.
On Mar. 25, 2019, Siena brought back one of its own in alumnus Carmen Maciariello '01 to serve as the 18th head coach in program history. Maciariello has wasted no time in returning the Saints to prominence, piloting the program to at least a share of back-to-back MAAC Regular Season Championships in his first two seasons at the helm. In just his first season, he guided the Saints back to the promised land as he led his alma mater to its first MAAC Regular Season Championship in a decade. Siena was also later awarded the program's sixth MAAC Tournament Championship, after postseason play was cut short following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
From four Catholic Invitational Tournament appearances, to five National Invitation Tournament bids, to six berths in the NCAA Tournament. From the Washington Avenue Armory, to the Alumni Recreation Center, to the state-of-the-art 15,500-seat MVP Arena. The scope of Siena Basketball has changed over the program's 81 seasons, helping to carry through the bold ideals set forth that many years ago by Rev. Fitzgerald.
For more information, visit the Siena Saints official site.