A talented assistant coach on the collegiate and professional levels, Tory Verdi enters his fifth season with Nebraska in 2009-10.
Verdi serves as NU's offensive coordinator as well as coaching the Husker post players.
Verdi came to Nebraska after serving as the acting head coach at Columbia University from February through April of 2005. He was the head assistant coach at Columbia from October 2004 until February 2005.
Before taking his position at Columbia, Verdi spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons as an assistant coach with the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA. He helped the Sun to the Eastern Conference title in 2004 and the Eastern Conference finals in 2003. He also spent time working as a special assistant to the Sun during the 2005 season before joining the Nebraska coaching staff.
Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said Verdi's ideas and WNBA coaching experience have helped energize Nebraska's talented staff.
"Tory's experiences, particularly his involvement in the WNBA for three years, brings a fresh perspective to our program," Yori said. "He is a highly energetic recruiter and coach who helps us in all areas of our program. His specialty is on the offensive end, as well as in the recruiting process."
Verdi focuses much of his on-court coaching attention to NU's post players. Led by two-time first-team All-Big 12 pick Kelsey Griffin, NU's inside game could be among the best in the Big 12 in 2009-10. In 2007-08, Griffin averaged 15.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game despite being limited by a cracked rib. She ranked among the top 10 players in the Big 12 in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage and free throw percentage on the year. She was even better in league play, averaging 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in league action.
Griffin missed the entire 2008-09 season with an ankle injury, but was able to take a redshirt season and will return for her fifth year with the Huskers in 2009-10 in pursuit of national honors on the court, in the classroom and in the community.
In Griffin's absence, fellow senior-to-be Cory Montgomery carried the load for the Huskers inside. Montgomery ranked among the top 10 players in the Big 12 in both scoring and rebounding. She was also a dangerous threat from three-point range and ranked among the nation's top free throw shooters. Montgomery averaged 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and was at her best down the stretch, averaging nearly 20 points and nine rebounds per contest over the last seven games. Montgomery went on to earn honorable-mention All-Big 12 honors on the court and will join Griffin in contention for honors both on and off the court.
In addition to the emergence of Montgomery, Griffin's absence allowed for a solid starting debut from sophomore Catheryn Redmon. The 6-3 center from Grand Prairie, Texas, averaged 5.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, while staking her claim as one of the Big 12's premier shot-blockers. Redmon finished the season with 67 blocked shots, the third-highest total in Nebraska history. With nearly 2.2 blocks per game, Redmon trailed only All-Americans Courtney Paris and Danielle Wilson among Big 12 shot-blockers.
Nebraska's inside game will also feature experienced senior Nikki Bober, who suffered a season-ending injury midway through the 2008-09 campaign. Bober's absence allowed Jessica Periago to develop into a contributor off the bench as a sophomore. The 6-4 center from Toulon, France, produced double figures on perfect shooting nights against both Texas and Colorado in Big 12 action, and improved her rebounding dramatically down the stretch in conference play.
In addition to losing Griffin and Bober to injury in 2008-09, the Huskers also had to compensate for the loss of honorable-mention All-Big 12 forward Danielle Page to graduation and the WNBA.
In 2007-08, Page emerged as a dominant force in the Big 12 in her only year as a starter. Page ranked 19th in the Big 12 in scoring (12.0 ppg) and 20th in rebounding (6.5 rpg), while ranking fourth in blocks (2.4 bpg).
Page's All-Big 12 campaign came after averaging just 5.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game through her first three seasons. She also closed her career as one of the top 10 shot-blockers in Big 12 history, smashing NU's single-season block record with 78 as a senior to finish No. 2 in school history with 207. She went on to spend the 2008 WNBA season with the Connecticut Sun.
Verdi assists with individual player development and opponent scouting, while playing an active role in Nebraska's recruiting.
He played a major recruiting role in the addition of Redmon - an All-Texas selection and a top-15 post player nationally by the All-Star Girls Report. He also played a role in the recruitment of 2009-10 freshmen Katya Leick (Minnesota) and Meghin Williams (California).
In addition to his professional experience as a WNBA assistant, Verdi served as the head coach of the Springfield Spirit in the National Women's Professional Basketball League from October 2003 to April 2004.
Along with his experience as a collegiate and professional women's coach, Verdi has extensive experience as a collegiate men's coach.
Before joining the WNBA's Connecticut Sun in 2003, Verdi served as an assistant men's basketball coach at Western Connecticut State in Danbury, Conn.
Verdi helped Western Connecticut State to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2002 and 2003. He also served as assistant men's coach at the University of Hartford from 1996 to 1997, after working as an assistant men's coach at his alma mater, Keene State College in New Hampshire, from 1995 to 1996.
Verdi added experience as the head high school boys varsity coach at Pomperaug High School in Southbury, Conn., from 1997 to 2000.
Verdi was born in New Britain, Conn. He earned his bachelor's degree in elementary education from Keene State College in 1996, before adding a master's degree in computer technology from Hartford in 2003.
Verdi and his wife, Heather, have a six-year-old son, Tyler, a three-year-old daughter, Avery, and an infant son Bradyn born in June of 2009.