Matt Parke was introduced as Averett University's new men's basketball coach Thursday during a press conference at Averett's Grant Center.
Parke becomes the Averett men's basketball program's eighth head coach after serving as the associate head coach at Division III Guilford College for the past four seasons. During that span, Guilford had a 104-19 record and made NCAA Tournament appearances all for years, including back-to-back Final Four appearances the past two seasons. Guilford compiled the most wins by any Division III school during that stretch and was nationally ranked in the top 25 polls in each of the last four seasons.
"It's really an honor and I'm excited for the season to start," Parke said.
Prior to his most recent stint at Guilford, Parke was the Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Alabama from 2005-2006. He served as a graduate-assistant at the University of South Carolina from 2003-2005 and was on the coaching staff that helped guide the Gamecocks to the 2005 NIT championship. Parke began his college coaching career as an assistant coach at Guilford from 2001-2003. In addition, Parke has head coaching experience at Oak Ridge Military Academy (1999-2001) and Derby Academy (1997-1999).
Parke takes over an Averett program that won three USA South Conference championships and made three NCAA Tournament appearances from 2007-09. Last year, the Cougars finished 10-16 before falling in the USA South semifinals.
"We want to get back to going to NCAA Tournaments and back to winning conference championships" Parke said.
Parke also has high expectations for his team off the court.
"Our teams are always going to be working hard and always a team that Averett is going to be proud of," he said. "We're going to graduate players and have guys that are going to be productive members in society. ... We want to be more than just a basketball team."
A native of Bangor, Maine, Parke earned his bachelor's degree in economics from Colby College in 1997. He also received his master's in business administration from South Carolina in 2005.
He is engaged to Guilford athletic trainer Elizabeth Dornbos, and the two are getting married later this summer.
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