DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) – For the last 40 years, the UMass Dartmouth men’s basketball team has been anchored by head coach Brian Baptiste. Now with 700-plus wins under his belt, he has no intention of slowing down any time soon.

“Did I ever think I’d be here this long? No,” Baptiste said.

Forty years later, Baptiste picked up his 700th career win on Jan. 14 against Castleton, as current and former players showered him with love.

“Guys on the team were fantastic they were very excited for me,” he said. “The contacts I’ve been getting from former players and coaches throughout my life, and just people in general that have been close to me over the years… for me, that’s what it’s all about. The relationships you built.”

One of those relationships is with Providence College’s head coach Ed Cooley. In 1994, Baptiste gave Cooley his first college coaching job.

“Brian, I really appreciate, brought me into the coaching world at UMass Dartmouth. Young kid, working at Bridgewater Raynham Regional High School as a teacher, I’ve always known Brian. All he’s done there, all the wins all the championships, I think he’s a better person than coach. J learned a lot from him. I had the opportunity to work for him, and from there, I’m the head coach at Providence College, so it’s all love,” Cooley said.

The wins and NCAA tournament appearances aside, the top priority for Baptiste has been building those relationships and seeing lessons passed down to the next generation.

“The best compliment I can get is when a former player says, ‘Coach, the things you were trying to teach us in the gym, I’m trying to teach my son and daughter now as a father,’ so that means a lot,” Baptiste said.

Across all Division III men’s basketball programs, Baptiste is the winningest active coach in the country.