Photo Courtesy of Mason Athletics
BY DOMENIC ALLEGRA SPORTS EDITOR
On Thursday, March 25, former Tennessee assistant coach Kim English was introduced as the 11th head coach of Mason men’s basketball.
“A strong basketball program serves as a beacon of light for our university and our community,” said President Gregory Washington at the press conference. “The head coach of our basketball program serves as a key ambassador to the university. Kim fits this bill. He lights up a room. He brings enthusiasm and energy that will be infectious to our team and the university. We know we’ve made the right choice here and the Atlantic 10 will find that out shortly. I’m excited about the direction the program is going.”
The Detroit Pistons selected English with the 44th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and he appeared in 41 games during the 2012-2013 season.
English is the youngest coach in Mason basketball history at 32 years and 6 months. Prior to English, Rick Barnes was the youngest coach at 32 years and 10 months for the 1987-1988 season before leaving to go to Providence College. To bring things full circle, English was an assistant coach to Barnes at Tennessee for the last two years.
“Kim is authentic and has the great ability to connect with everyone he meets,” said Mason Athletic Director Brad Edwards. “When you get the opportunity to sit and visit with him, you’ll see firsthand why he commands so much respect from his players, his coaching peers, NBA executives and everyone with his sphere of influence.”
He continued, “Over the course of his career as a coach, Kim has made an indelible impact and touched the lives of so many of his players. That legacy gives me so much excitement and the confidence that Kim is the perfect fit to lead our men’s basketball program.”
The Baltimore native has high hopes for his time at Mason.
“I’ve been preparing to coach these guys to help them reach their wildest dreams,” said English. “I’m obsessed about that. I’m obsessed about running a highly successful Division I program at Mason.”
With every major player on the Patriots’ roster in the transfer portal, English will have his plate full having to re-recruit them back to Fairfax on top of recruiting other transfers to come to Mason.
Since English has taken over he has offered three scholarship spots to three players: Devin Dinkins, a 5-foot-8-inch point guard with other offers from Georgetown, VT and Penn State; Saxby Sunderland, a 6-foot-2-inch point guard with offers from Akron and VCU; and Tyrell Ward, a 6-foot-5-inch shooting guard with other offers from LSU, Providence, Xavier, Georgetown, St. John’s and VCU.
“I’m committed to our guys, committed to making everybody better,” said English. “We are going to be a team that makes Mason Nation incredibly proud. We are in the middle of the most fertile recruiting area in the nation. It’s already a national brand and we will continue to build it on the court, in the classroom and the community.”
English says he has a tough out-of-conference schedule in mind for next season and Mason Nation will wait eagerly until tipoff in November.