July 18, 2012

DSC narrows hoops coaching search

Dalton native Tony Ingle among four finalists

Devin Golden

— It’s down to the final four.

Dalton State College could name a men’s head basketball coach within the next two weeks from a group of four finalists, athletic director Derek Waugh said Tuesday. One finalist is a former DSC Roadrunner player and North Whitfield High School graduate.

The finalists are: former University of Tennessee-Chattanooga head coach Henry Dickerson; Dalton native and former Kennesaw State University head coach Tony Ingle; former Georgia Southern University assistant Carl Nash; and former Winthrop University head coach Randy Peele.

“They’ll all visit in the next week or week and a half,” Waugh said.

After the interviews are completed, Waugh will make the hire with input from DSC President John Schwenn. Eight candidates had phone interviews last week and the field was cut in half Monday. The finalists will come for in-person interviews starting this week, Waugh said.

Dickerson, who lives in Durham, N.C., is known locally for his 15-year tenure at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. He was an assistant basketball coach from 1989-1997 and head coach from 1997-2002. He is currently the Johnston Community College (Smithfield, N.C.) head coach. He previously was an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina Wilmington from 2009-2010 and was the North Carolina Central University (Durham, N.C.) head coach from 2004-2009.

Ingle is best known for his 11-year head coaching tenure at Kennesaw State, which won the 2004 NCAA Division II national title under his direction. The Acworth resident was fired at the end of the 2011 season after his team finished 8-23, and school officials attributed the decision to the program’s poor academics. He was a Brigham Young University head basketball coach and has nine NCAA postseason appearances from the Division I or Division II level.

Nash, of Del Norte, Colo., was a Georgia Southern University associate head coach from 1999-2009, Auburn University assistant coach from 1994-1996 and Clemson University assistant coach from 1994-1995. He also was the Spring Hill College (Mobile, Ala.) athletic director and men’s basketball head coach from 1986-1993. As of late, he’s spent time coaching outside of the United States. He coached the Al Rayyan Professional men’s team in Qatar from 2009-2010 and the Xinjiang Flying Tigers professional team for two months after that.

Peele, a Rock Hill, S.C. resident, is the only finalist without any direct Georgia or Tennessee ties, but he arguably has the most head coaching success at Division I. He was the head coach at Winthrop University in Rock Hill from 2008-2012, winning the Big South Conference Championship and reaching the NCAA tournament twice, in 2008 and 2010. He was fired after the 2012 season following a 12-20 record. He was the school’s assistant coach from 2002-2008. He previously was an assistant coach at Virginia Tech from 1999-2002 and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro head coach from 1995-1996 and an assistant coach there from 1991-1995.

The Roadrunners are making progress toward relaunching athletics, with men’s basketball the early focal point. The school has not had a men’s basketball team in 30 years, but expects to return to the hardwood for the 2013-14 school year to begin play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Waugh, who was hired in February, targeted the men’s basketball hire as one of the first tasks in rebuilding DSC athletics. Waugh said he had more than 60 inquiries about the job spanning “every level of basketball from high school to pro.” There were 27 official applications.

Waugh then formed a six-person committee to narrow the field to eight candidates for phone interviews. The committee took part in each of the eight phone interviews via “hour-long conference calls,” he said. Waugh said last week the phone interviews with eight candidates were complete and it was up to him, with the help of the committee’s recommendations, to reduce the field to “two to four.”