Breaker Events Are New England Tradition

Barbara Stevens of Bentley College is one of the New England coaches who has visited the Northeast Elite College Showcase. Photo by Damian Strohmeyer.

Two of the longest lasting summer basketball events in New England are run each summer by Rhode Island Breakers director Bill Coughlin. Both the Northeast Elite College Showcase and the Commotion By The Ocean fill up quickly each year due to the environment Coughlin creates.

The 2013 Northeast Elite College Showcase will feature 47 teams competing on April 13-14, and this 18-year old spring event has a family feel.

“We could probably fill it up two or three times over, but the tradition is to play everything on four adjacent courts (at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick, R.I.),” Coughlin said. “All of the coaches know each other, so it’s like a bunch of buddies getting together and just killing each other. It’s a great way to start the year and help the teams prepare for the Division I period.”

Although the Showcase is played prior to the Division I window, Coughlin annually hosts about 90 coaches from the D-II and D-III ranks.

The Commotion By The Ocean, which is played on May 25-26 in Providence, R.I., has a different look with over 200 teams playing at four sites.

“The Commotion has been full for a while,” Coughlin said. “I think we do a good job of running the event, but the big draw is the area. It’s just a gorgeous environment at that time of the year, and there is just so much to do in Providence that weekend.”

The Commotion is obviously a major undertaking, and a large group of former Breaker players return to the area to help run the tournament. The bulk of the work, of course, is done my Coughlin and his wife, Bonnie. Bill is responsible for communicating with the teams, and Bonnie takes care of all the paperwork.