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(New Orleans, La.) The Dillard University Department of Athletics announced that Mike Newell has been named Bleu Devils head men's basketball coach.
Newell takes over a struggling men's program that produced only two road wins and a total of 15 wins in the last four years. To their credit, the Bleu Devils did make a run to the 2013 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference tournament championship game, shocking inner city rivals Xavier University (quarter-finals) as well as Southern University at New Orleans (semi-finals) in memorable fashion, only to fall to eventual champions Philander Smith College.
"I believe Coach Newell's experience will help take our program to another level. His expertise in recruiting and player skill development make him an excellent fit," said Dillard's athletic director, Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes.
Newell has over 30 years of basketball coaching experience and a track record of reviving struggling programs. He has enjoyed success at every level, as a player and coach. Once a three-year starter at Sam Houston State, he was fortunate enough to be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1991.
"I certainly want to thank Dr. Kimbrough and Dr. Barnes for having faith in me and my abilities and giving me a chance to resurrect this program at such a great university, said Newell. I'm looking forward to the challenge, and we realize it won't be an overnight thing, but we want to build a total basketball program, one that will succeed year in and year out, not just a one year phenomenon," said Newell.
Newell has been a head coach at the University of West Alabama, the University of Arkansas Monticello (UAM), Lamar University, and the University of Arkansas Little Rock (UALR). During his stint at these NCAA Division 1 and 2 programs, he has racked up 320 total wins, has seven 20 win seasons, has seven NCAA/NIT appearances, one Final Four Appearance (NIT), four regular season conference championships, three conference tournament championships, four coach of the year awards, one sweet 16 appearance (NCAA Division II, one regional final (NCAA-Division II) and produced seven 2,000-point scorers.
"Coach Newell is a gifted teacher of the game of basketball and it is obvious how well he taught me," said 2015 GCAC Coach of the Year Matt Cross. "Beyond that, he is a super talented coach and now the only current Louisiana college coach with two NCAA Division 1 tournament wins to his credit. I couldn't be more thrilled for Dillard to land Mike Newell as their new leader," said Cross.
Cross was an assistant under Newell at UAM and currently coaches at Talladega College where he took his team to the NAIA final four this past season. The two coaches look forward to facing one another at least twice a year as both teams reside in the GCAC.