Mercer hires Purdue assistant as men’s basketball coach

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Mercer University men’s basketball team has a new head coach.

The school announced Greg Gary as its 27th men’s basketball coach Tuesday.

Gary, an assistant under coach Matt Painter at Purdue, has coached at that school for the last eight seasons and has helped lead the Boilermakers to three straight Sweet 16 appearances.

Third-seed Purdue faces two-seed Tennessee in the Sweet 16 Thursday, March 28.

A news conference to formally announce Gary as Mercer’s coach will be held after the Boilermakers’ season is over.

“When we set out to look for a new head coach, we recognized Greg early in the process as someone we were confident in leading our men’s basketball program,” Mercer athletic director Jim Cole said in a release. “Greg not only stood out for his proven background and style of play, but for the role he has played as a mentor to student-athletes throughout his career as well as his commitment to growing them into leaders off the court. We’re so happy for Greg, his wife, Claudia, and his children – Gabrielle, Logan, Alexandra, Brooklyn and Nash – to be joining our Mercer Family.”

Gary has made 13 postseason appearances as a college assistant and a player, including 10 NCAA Tournament appearances.

The Boilermakers’ offensive set caller has centered on the development of their wing and post players, according to Mercer’s release. His teams have helped lead the Big Ten Conference in scoring in two of the last three seasons. The Boilermakers led the Big Ten in three-pointers made (336) this season and also led the conference in three-point percentage and free throw percentage while ranking second nationally in assists per game during the 2016-17 season.

Gary spent the 2007-08 and 2010-11 seasons as an assistant at Duquesne before coming to Purdue. He was head coach at Centenary in between those seasons and resigned after the school announced in July 2009 it would seek reclassification as an NCAA Division III member.

He was also an assistant at South Florida from 2004-05 through 2006-07 and spent six of the first seven years of his coaching career as an assistant at Tulane, his alma mater.

Gary finished his three-year playing career as Tulane’s all-time leader in assists (370) and now ranks fifth. He’s second in school history in career assist-to-turnover ratio (1.97).

“This is such an incredible opportunity and I am both grateful and honored to have been selected as the head men’s basketball coach at Mercer University,” Gary said in Mercer’s release. “I’d like to thank President Underwood, Jim Cole and Sybil Blalock for their confidence in me to move this program forward and I appreciate their vision and look forward to seeing our young men succed in both the classroom and on the court.”

Gary replaces Bob Hoffman, who was fired this month after posting a 209-165 record in 11 seasons, including a 78-71 NCAA Tournament win over Duke in 2014.

 

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 310 Tucker Sargent joined the 41NBC news team in April 2012. He's from Alabama, but you won't catch him saying "Roll Tide!" Tucker grew up near Auburn before moving to north Alabama. He graduated from Danville High School in 2007 and loves to return to the Tennessee Valley any chance he gets. He moved back south to Troy, Alabama after high school, where he graduated from Troy University in 2011 with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism. He interned in Huntsville at WAAY-TV before joining 41NBC. His passion is sports, and his favorite teams are the Auburn Tigers and Troy Trojans. On the weekends you can catch Tucker watching college football on Saturdays and NASCAR on Sundays! He's proud to call middle Georgia home for now and could always use a story idea from you, so don't hesitate to get in touch with him!