YOUNGSTOWN - Ed DiGregorio's seat inside Beeghly Center has been occupied for the past decade.
He's watched the Youngstown State University women's basketball team through its peaks and valleys and eventually flatline during the 2009-10 season during an 0-30 campaign.
Current YSU coach Bob Boldon revived the once proud program in his third season. The 22-8 Penguins are heading to the Horizon League semifinals Friday against Loyola in Green Bay. YSU beat Cleveland State, 69-62, Wednesday at the Beeghly Center in a Horizon League quarterfinal to advance.
This year is the first winning season for YSU since the 1999-2000 campaign.
"I think I've missed one game since I've left," DiGregorio said. "The last 10 years have been dead for me. Now, we've been winning again and turned the program around. I turned the program around when I came in and now Bob is doing the same thing. It's enjoyable and a good thing for Youngstown State."
DiGregorio, who coached from 1983-2003, was honored at halftime of the CSU game for his 319 victories on a retired jersey and some of his former players surrounding him.
"He set a standard for women's basketball at Youngstown State University," Boldon said. "Our goal is to try to reach that standard. He put Youngstown State women's basketball on the map. It's our job in my time to get us as close to that level as we can and, hopefully someday succeed it.
"I'm really happy for him. I think it's well deserved. I'm thrilled the (former) players were able to come back tonight. It's a great environment for somebody like him to be honored. We're in the locker room. I wish I could've been up there. I'm sure our players wish I could've been up there too. It's a tremendous honor for a tremendous coach."
The former YSU mentor reshaped the Penguins into a powerhouse in the 1990s - guiding YSU to three NCAA Tournament appearances.
He began the decade with a 24-4 mark in the 1990-91 season and ended it with a 22-9 record during the 1999-2000 season - a team that made the NCAA Tournament for the third time.
"Great bunch of ladies," said the 86-year-old DiGregorio. "Youngstown is a great place. Everything we did was first class."
YSU's benchmark was a 28-3 standard set during the 1997-98 campaign. It even included a first-round NCAA victory over Memphis.
Current Horizon League Player of the Year and YSU senior forward Brandi Brown has paced this year's team to its current success - a player DiGregorio admires.
"Brandi (Brown) could probably play with the best of them," he said. "The 28-3 team, she could play with that team. She is a phenomenal player."
Brown reminds DiGregorio of a former YSU great - Dorothy (Bowers) Collins. She played for DiGregorio from 1984-88 and scored more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Only her and Brown were the two lone Penguins to achieve that milestone.
DiGregorio said Boldon is utilizing Brown the way he did Bowers.
"The other good thing Bob has done is the girls know their roles, that they have to get the ball in Brandi's hands," DiGregorio said. "I used to tell the young ladies, 'This is Dorothy Bowers. I want you to meet her. Get the ball to her and that's all you have to do.' I think Bob Boldon says the same thing. Get the ball to Brandi and get the hell out of the way."