Head CoachRead More
Adversity tends to bring out one’s true colors – even with a college basketball program. And when Mick Cronin was forced to sit out most of the 2014-15 campaign for precautionary reason due to a vascular condition known as arterial dissection, fans quickly learned the wherewithal of Cincinnati basketball.
A young team without any returning starters from the previous season, the Bearcats overcame the loss of their head coach, won 23 games and managed to reach the NCAA tournament for a fifth consecutive year. But more importantly, the group’s determination, toughness and togetherness illustrated the winning culture that has grown under Cronin’s leadership
Ever since Cronin was named head coach in March 2006, the Cincinnati native and UC alumus has displayed a steadfast determination to return the Bearcats to national prominence. Facing a rebuilding job that started with a roster featuring only one returning letterman, Cronin’s commitment never wavered. Even while competing within arguably the sport’s toughest league ever organized – the old BIG EAST Conference.
Despite the surroundings, Cincinnati began the retooling process, becoming the only program from a major conference to improve its win total every season from 2007 to 2011, building from 11 wins in 2007 to 26 victories and a return to the NCAA tournament in 2011.
Now a fixture at the Big Dance, Cincinnati can include itself on an elite list of 11 programs appearing in each of the last five NCAA tournaments, along with Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, San Diego State, VCU and Wisconsin.
Mark Berger enters his ninth consecutive season on the coaching staff with the University of Cincinnati men's basketball program in 2018-19. He was named assistant to the head coach in October 2018. Previously, he served as director of basketball operations (2016-18), director of student-athlete development (2013-2016) and video coordinator (2010-2013).
Berger was temporarily elevated to an assistant coach for practices and games during the 2014-15 season while UC head coach Mick Cronin was sidelined for the final 25 games of the year due to health reasons.
A native of Cincinnati and loyal to his alma mater, Berger (Cincinnati, 2001) was a basketball manager for the Bearcats as an undergraduate and rejoined the program as a project coordinator for the 2009-10 season.
Berger came home to Cincinnati after serving as an assistant coach at Presbyterian College during the 2008-09 season. Prior to Presbyterian College, he was head coach at Western Texas College, restarting the men's basketball program for the 2006-07 campaign after a 13-year disbandment.
In only his second season, Berger showed the benefits of hard work during the major rebuilding process by leading the Westerners to 18 wins and a fifth-place finish in the tough Western Junior College Athletic Conference, regarded by most as one of the toughest Junior College conferences in the United States. Berger's student-athletes also excelled in the classroom where his 2008 team finished eighth in the country with a team GPA of 3.05 and included two Academic All-Americans.
Prior to taking over the Western Texas program, Berger worked as an associate head coach at Wilmington College in Ohio. Berger helped lead Wilmington to a school-record 20 wins during his second season with the program. Berger worked two seasons as an assistant coach under Pat Rafferty at Grayson County College in Denison, Texas. Berger was part of the staff that led Grayson to the NJCAA Regional Tournament during the 2003-04 season. Grayson's 2004 squad finished the season ranked second among all junior colleges in team defense.
After graduating from Cincinnati, Berger left to serve as an assistant coach at Mount Union College in Ohio. He coached Mount Union's junior varsity team to a 13-2 record during his one season with the program. Berger holds a Masters of Management degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Berger is married to the former Carrie Hennessee of Ringling, Okla. The couple resides in Cincinnati with their son, Grayson.
Associate Head CoachRead More
Darren Savino has been an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati since 2010, having joined the Bearcats after a four-year stint at Rutgers.
Savino temporarily served as UC's associate head coach for the final 25 games of the 2014-15 season while head coach Mick Cronin missed practices and games due to health reasons.
A talented recruiter with long ties to the New York metro area, Savino's 20-year college coaching career includes experience at Rutgers (2006-09) and St. John's (1996-98).
Savino joined the UC staff after a four-year stint at Rutgers where he was a key New York and New Jersey recruiter. He was named the Scarlet Knights interim head coach in April 2010 after the resignation of head coach Fred Hill.
Savino played a key role in recruiting McDonald's All-American and fellow Jersey City, New Jersey native Mike Rosario to the Knights in 2008. Before transferring to Florida, Rosario had made a name for himself in the BIG EAST Conference at Rutgers, averaging 16.2 and 16.7 points as a freshman and sophomore, respectively.