Steve Roccaforte enters his first year as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech, following three years as an assistant coach at South Florida. Roccaforte, known nationally as a tireless recruiter and enthusiastic floor coach, has already benefitted the Hokies greatly.
He played a large role in USF getting a top-15 nationally ranked recruiting class for both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons and helped the Bulls advance to the third round of the 2012 NCAA Championships. Consistently towards the top of the list, Roccaforte was ranked as the 23rd best assistant coach in the NCAA in 2012.
With nearly 28 years of experience at the NCAA Division I level, Roccaforte has worked with some of the top coaches in the business and has recruited some of the top talent in the country. He has served under national coaches of the year in John Calipari, Perry Clark and Billy Tubbs helped develop multiple nationally ranked recruiting classes. Prior to USF, Roccaforte was the head coach at Lamar University for five seasons.
Roccaforte is also no stranger to postseason play, having served on the staff of seven teams that extended their seasons. He has been to a three NCAA Tournaments, one each with USF, Tulane and Memphis, and five NITs with Tulane, Wyoming and Memphis. Tulane advanced to the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden in 1996. Memphis made a pair of trips to MSG, including a championship run in 2002.
Known as a relentless recruiter, Roccaforte has put together top 25 recruiting classes at USF (No. 12 being the highest), Tulane (No. 8), Memphis (No. 1) and Lamar (No. 6). Memphis had the nation’s top-rated recruiting class in 2001. HoopScoop.com rated Lamar’s class in 2004, the first full recruiting class with Roccaforte on staff, among the top 10 in the country.
According to recruiting analyst Dave Telep, Roccaforte is one of the 25 hardest-working coaches in the nation as well as one of the top 15 recruiters in the country.
Roccaforte’s penchant for recruiting was as evident as ever in 2009-10 as Lamar’s eight-player class was ranked ninth by HoopScoopOnline.com and 15th-best in the nation by Basketball Times. The class featured three of the top 15 scorers in Junior College Division I.
During his career, Roccaforte has coached or recruited such future NBA players as Larry Robinson-Centenary, Jerald Honeycutt-Tulane, Chris Owens-Tulane, Linton Johnson-Tulane, Josh Davis-Wyoming, Dejuan Wagner-Memphis, Antonio Burks-Memphis, Earl Barron-Memphis, Sean Banks-Memphis, Qyntel Woods-Memphis, Amare Stoudemire-Memphis, Kendrick Perkins-Memphis, Rodney Carney-Memphis and Adrian Caldwell - Lamar.
Roccaforte was listed as one of the top four assistant coaches ready to take over their own program according to Dan Wetzel of CBS Sportsline.com and was voted the seventh-best assistant coach in the country by Basketball Times for the 2002-03 season. According to recruiting analyst Dave Telep, Roccaforte is one of the 25 hardest-working coaches in the nation as well as one of the top 15 recruiters in the country. Clark Francis of HoopScoop.com listed Roccaforte as the top mid-major assistant coach in the country in 2005.
Academics are a high priority for Roccaforte as evidenced by the fact that Lamar’s increase in Academic Progress Rate (APR) is among the best in the country. Lamar’s APR, which is a real-time measurement of a team’s ability to stay on course and graduate, moved up 101 spots to No. 20 in the country during Roccaforte’s tenure.
In his five seasons, Lamar was a sparkling 55-20 at home in the Montagne Center and guided LU to its first SLC regular-season championship in more than 20 years in his second season with an impressive 13-3 conference mark. He coached nine all-conference selections at Lamar.
The 2007-08 season featured a number of impressive streaks and great players. Among them were a 14-2 home record, a school-record six-consecutive conference road victories and the eighth-largest home crowd in school history. Lamar ranked eighth in the nation in scoring offense (81.5 ppg.) and in the top 50 in both field goal percentage (46.9) and 3-point field goal percentage (38.2).
For his efforts, Roccaforte was named the 2007-08 Southland Conference Coach of the Year by the Lake Charles American-Press newspaper. Senior Lamar Sanders and Kenny Dawkins were both named first team All-SLC, with Dawkins matching his teammate as SLC Newcomer of the Year. The success of that season led to a top 25 ranking in the mid-major poll the following year. Lamar ranked 12th in the NCAA in assists at 17.3 per game, 31st in three-pointers made per game (8.3) and 52nd in three-point percentage (.379).
Individually, Sanders led the SLC, and ranked 12th in the NCAA, in rebounding at 9.8 rpg. The Cardinals set a new single season school record for three-point attempts (702) and posted the second-best mark in three-pointers made (266).
Roccaforte’s first recruiting class as the head coach paid immediate dividends as Sanders was named SLC Newcomer of the Year and earned second-team All-SLC honors. Center James Davis was a third-team All-SLC performer, and guard Darren Hopkins was an honorable mention selection.
During his four years at Tulane, the Green Wave consistently ranked among the top-25 recruiting classes in the nation and included an All-American and seven All-Conference USA selections. The final recruiting class that he helped sign was ranked eighth nationally.
Roccaforte was part of a Tulane staff that coached the Green Wave to three consecutive 20-win seasons during his tenure (1994-98). The Green Wave advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round in 1995, the NIT Final Four in 1996 and a second NIT appearance in 1997. The program also captured Conference USA Red Division titles in 1995-96 and 1996-97
Prior to being named to the top spot at Lamar, Roccaforte served for three seasons with the Cardinals as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under Billy Tubbs. Roccaforte spent three years as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis before returning to Lamar. He helped the Tigers advance to the NIT final four in 2001, won the NIT championship in 2002 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2003 for the first time in seven years. Before Memphis, Roccaforte spent two seasons as an assistant coach on the Wyoming staff (1998-2000). Before heading to Wyoming, Roccaforte worked at Tulane. Roccaforte was an assistant coach at Centenary College for five seasons (1989-94). He earned his bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree from Lamar in 1989.