For One Midmajor Program, a Quest for Success Against Big-Time Opponents

For One Women's Basketball Program, a Quest for Success Against Big-Time Opponents 1

Francis Specker, AP Images

Coach Brian Giorgis of Marist College has taken his team to the NCAA tournament seven times in a decade. Ten years ago he could "go 50 miles and people didn't know where Marist was. At least now people have heard of us."

For Brian Giorgis, head coach of the women's basketball team at Marist College, name recognition for his midmajor program has been a long time coming. But it pops up in the unlikeliest of places.

Consider the moment last year when the New York college's football coach was exchanging hellos with a well-known fellow coach at a convention. His response was brief but telling: "Marist College," the other coach nodded. "Good women's basketball team."

Those words thrilled Mr. Giorgis