Former Southeast coaches excel with juco programs

Monday, July 9, 2012

John Ishee's recent hiring as the women's basketball coach at Ranger (Texas) College means that three fairly recent Southeast Missouri State basketball coaches are now leading junior college hoops programs.

Ishee no doubt hopes he experiences the same kind of success in his new position that the other two have.

Both ex-Southeast coaches who left amid allegations of NCAA violations that resulted in the university being placed on probation led their teams to top-10 national rankings amid banner seasons.

Scott Edgar led Eastern Oklahoma State College to its first national junior college tournament berth since 1961. The Mountaineers (32-5) ultimately finished fourth.

Edgar's first year at Eastern Oklahoma in 2010-11 saw the Mountaineers post 19 victories after a winless campaign in 2009-10.

Edgar's two-year tenure as Southeast men's coach ended with his firing in December of 2008.

B.J. Smith led Highland (Kan.) Community College (27-3) to its most successful campaign ever and its first winning record since 1984 during his rookie season. He was named national juco coach of the year by one organization.

Smith was Southeast's women's coach for four seasons from 2002 through 2006 before resigning under pressure.

Ishee, who replaced Smith, had a spotless resume regarding NCAA infractions but was let go by Southeast in March of 2011 after five seasons.

Here's hoping Ishee, who I had a great working relationship with when he was at Southeast and who I have plenty of respect for, all the best in his new position.

The newest addition to the Southeast men's basketball coaching staff ranks as the Ohio Valley Conference's most experienced assistant.

Jessie Evans, who joined the Redhawks as their top assistant last week, has a resume that is hard to match on the mid-to-low-major level.

The 62-year-old Evans is a former coach of two Division I programs who also served as an assistant at several notable Division I programs, including Arizona, where he helped Lute Olson win the 1997 national title. Evans assisted Olson for nine years and was credited with recruiting some of Arizona's top players.

Evans took Louisiana-Lafayette to a pair of NCAA tournaments, part of a seven-year run that saw him win four regular-season Sun Belt Conference championships and two Sun Belt Conference tournament titles.

Evans went 132-81 from 1997 through 2004 at Louisiana-Lafayette, which won at least 20 games four times under Evans.

Evans did not experience similar success at San Francisco, where he went 45-57 in nearly four seasons from 2004 through 2007. He coached just 12 games during the 2007-08 campaign before taking a leave of absence. He eventually was fired without coaching another game there.

Evans, whose overall coaching record is 177-138, also has been an assistant at Minnesota, San Diego State, Texas and Wyoming.

Southeast coach Dickey Nutt, who got to know Evans well when they coached against each other in the Sun Belt Conference, still needs to hire a No. 3 assistant to join Jamie Rosser, who remains on the staff.

Nutt also has to replace Luke Scheidecker, who has been serving an important role as the program's operations assistant while he continued his studies at Southeast.

Scheidecker will be leaving at the end of July to take on a similar role at SIU Carbondale under new Salukis coach Barry Hinson. Scheidecker will continue his studies there.

It seems silly to say an athlete is somewhat over the hill at age 30, but that's the way things seem to work in the world of men's professional tennis.

Which is why Roger Federer's latest Wimbledon championship, Sunday's four-set triumph over Andy Murray, is extra impressive.

While Federer had remained among the sport's elite players, he had failed to add to his record haul of Grand Slam titles since capturing the 2010 Australian Open.

That changed Sunday, when Federer won his 17th Grand Slam tournament and tied Pete Sampras with seven Wimbledon crowns.

Federer also continued to stamp himself as arguably the best-ever tennis player.

My annual trip to southern California last week to visit my brother and his family presented an opportunity to personally witness Albert Pujols playing for the Angels.

I took in Thursday's contest against the Orioles at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, which is a short drive from where my brother lives.

Pujols didn't have a noteworthy performance, but I did see an exciting game. The Angels rallied from a 7-3 deficit to win 9-7.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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