Mike Cioffi '01
When Mike Cioffi and Nick Landrigan arrived at Rice Memorial, the Cathedral-Rice basketball program had made 21 trips to the state title game (with eight victories), but was suffering from a 15 year drought. Hopes were pinned on these young men to bring home hardware and sure enough, they did.
From 1985 to 2000, the Rice men’s team was constantly thwarted in its championship quest. That all changed when the 2000 team featuring fellow Hall of Famers Nick Landrigan ‘01, Alex Lloyd ‘00, Kyle Cieplicki ‘03 overcame BHS in the championship by 16 points, after trailing at the half! It was junior Mike Cioffi who sparked this comeback, scoring 23 points in the game with 12 in the third quarter alone. It would be a perfect end to a great season for Mike, as he later earned the honor of being 1st Team All-Metro and 3rd Team All-State. Unfortunately, his clutch championship performance would be the last with his senior teammates, when the team lost three of their starting five to graduation. With a target square on Little Indian's back as the reigning champs, Mike Cioffi and his team needed to find a way to win with the absence of some excellent basketball players on their roster. And sure enough, they did.
One of the key elements to the Little Indians’ success Mike's senior year was his ability to put points on the board. And he did, game after game, until he ensured his place in Rice basketball history books by being one of an elite group of players to score over 1,000 points (1,152 to be exact), many of them in his senior campaign. His offensive production helped lead the Little Indians to another solid season, along with a repeat trip to the semifinals, where they suffered a hard fought loss to the Crimson Tide of Spaulding. His efforts were recognized with yet another 1st Team All-Metro, along with a 1st Team All-State and a spot in the Alhambra Classic against New Hampshire.
While senior year saw Mike step up his role on the court for the team, he also stepped up in his role as a leader, being named co-captain for the 2000-01 season. And while the added responsibilities might have changed some people's attitude towards the game, Mike never lost his love and passion for the sport of basketball. For him, it was special just to "play competitive basketball for four years in a well-coached, fun, and energetic atmosphere." Reflecting on the atmosphere at the games, he remarked, "The support of the Rice Community – every game felt like a performance… we were lucky enough to be a good team for 3 out of the 4 years and the support we got from teachers, parents and fellow students was incredible." Along with the support of the entire Rice community, Mike is grateful for the support of their beloved Hall of Fame player turned coach, Kevin Cieplicki ‘76. "He was very supportive and challenged us to get better individually and as a team but most of all taught us that it meant something to play for Rice and that we should present ourselves the right way. He was a great mentor and coach."
After his graduation from Rice in 2001, Mike attended Colby-Sawyer College where he continued his winning ways for the Chargers. Mike lives out the Rice mission by helping local youth through his work with the YMCA, and his current role as General Manager of Social Enterprise at Spectrum Youth and Family Services. He currently resides in Williston with his wife, Alaina, and their son Bennett, who is almost two.