Apr 21, 2011
Kennesaw State Names Lewis Preston Head Coach

Kennesaw State has hired Lewis Preston as its men’s basketball coach.

Preston has been an assistant at Penn State since 2008. While there, he helped Jeff Brooks develop into an All-Big Ten Conference player. Preston is described as a “very positive guy, works hard, good game coach, works well with the kids, by a former co-worker.

Before joining Penn State, he assisted Billy Donovan for two seasons at Florida, where he helped turn Al Horford into a first-round draft pick by the Hawks. The Gators won the second of their back-to-back national championships while Preston was in Gainesville. Before assisting Donovan, he worked with Mike Brey at Notre Dame for six seasons. He helped develop first-round draft picks Troy Murphy and Ryan Humphrey while in South Bend, Ind. Horford told the website atlanta.sbnation.com that Preston “is a hard worker and has a lot to offer. He is a great teacher of the game and there is no doubt that his players will learn to play basketball the right way.”

A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m. Preston will take over an Owls program in disrepair. Kennesaw State went 8-23 last season, defeating Georgia Tech 80-63 on Nov. 15 in one of the biggest wins in school history. However, it didn’t win again until Jan. 3. The team also has numerous academic issues that are so bad they were cited as the reason previous coach Tony Ingle was fired.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to have a chance to be successful right away, Preston said in answering what attracted him to the job. It also helps that it’s 45 minutes outside of the one of the great metro areas for basketball.”

It is the first hire made by new athletic director Vaughn Williams, who was just introduced last week and won’t officially take over until May.

“Everyone kept saying the same things about him, including former athletes he coached and those in the athletic departments, Williams said. He can bring what we aspire to be, champions in the classroom, champions on the court. He’s seen it, he’s done it.”

Preston, a native of Boones Mill, Va. and a 1993 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, was selected ahead of several candidates, including reported finalists FSU assistant Corey Williams, Belmont assistant Casey Alexander, former Georgia Tech assistant Kevin Cantwell and former Yellow Jacket standout Mark Price.

Preston has a background in academic improvement that the Owls need, which is something that Williams said helped his candidacy. Preston oversaw that area as an assistant at Coastal Carolina from 1998-2000.During his interview, Preston presented a plan to ensure that his players maintain their discipline in the classroom. He said he will make sure the players understand that they will be held accountable. Accountability is a byproduct of trust. Preston said he plans on spending a lot of time with his players in different team-building drills, in addition to talking to their parents, high school coaches and AAU coaches in an attempt to learn as much as he can about them. He said he’s confident they will be doing their homework about him.

The accountability is necessary because Kennesaw State has failed to meet the minimum score in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate in the last two reports and expects to lose scholarships and practice time as part of historical penalties when the next set of scores come out later this year. The APR uses a formula to track students’ academic progress over a four-year period. A perfect score is 1, 000. The NCAA demands a minimum score of 925. The Owls posted scores of 883 (2008-09) and 843 (2007-08) the past two years.

As expected, Williams said he did his homework on Preston’s classroom credentials, reaching out to the academic advisors he’s worked with in the past.

“It all checked out the way I knew it would, Williams said. He placed a high value on the academics and compliance. I want my coaches to be fundamentally sound in those areas.

“We’re trying to find outstanding people that have a commitment to academics and the whole student-athlete.”

The Owls won the 2004 Division II national championship before the university announced it was becoming a transitional Division I team in 2005-06. They became a full-fledged member of the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2009.

Preston is good at developing big men because he was a slightly undersized 6-foot-8 banger with the Keydets. He is the school’s record holder in career blocked shots (202), including a school-record 65 in 1992. He twice led the Southern Conference in blocked shots, finishing as its second all-time leader. He averaged 10.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game before he graduated and pursued a productive career in Europe.

Preston also has a reputation nationally as a strong recruiter. Williams said Preston’s ties to South Carolina, Florida the midwest and northeast will only help Kennesaw State.

“This is not a stretch, Williams said. He’s not rebooting. We seek to be the best. He’s been around some of the best.”

Kennesaw State Names Lewis Preston Head Coach

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Doug Roberson

Kennesaw State has hired Lewis Preston as its men’s basketball coach.

Preston has been an assistant at Penn State since 2008. While there, he helped Jeff Brooks develop into an All-Big Ten Conference player. Preston is described as a “very positive guy, works hard, good game coach, works well with the kids, by a former co-worker.

Before joining Penn State, he assisted Billy Donovan for two seasons at Florida, where he helped turn Al Horford into a first-round draft pick by the Hawks . The Gators won the second of their back-to-back national championships while Preston was in Gainesville. Before assisting Donovan, he worked with Mike Brey at Notre Dame for six seasons. He helped develop first-round draft picks Troy Murphy and Ryan Humphrey while in South Bend, Ind. Horford told the website atlanta.sbnation.com that Preston is a hard worker and has a lot to offer. He is a great teacher of the game and there is no doubt that his players will learn to play basketball the right way.”

A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m. Preston will take over an Owls program in disrepair. Kennesaw State went 8-23 last season, defeating Georgia Tech 80-63 on Nov. 15 in one of the biggest wins in school history. However, it didn’t win again until Jan. 3. The team also has numerous academic issues that are so bad they were cited as the reason previous coach Tony Ingle was fired.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to have a chance to be successful right away, Preston said in answering what attracted him to the job. It also helps that it’s 45 minutes outside of the one of the great metro areas for basketball.”

It is the first hire made by new athletic director Vaughn Williams, who was just introduced last week and won’t officially take over until May.

“Everyone kept saying the same things about him, including former athletes he coached and those in the athletic departments, Williams said. He can bring what we aspire to be, champions in the classroom, champions on the court. He’s seen it, he’s done it.”

Preston, a native of Boones Mill, Va. and a 1993 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, was selected ahead of several candidates, including reported finalists FSU assistant Corey Williams, Belmont assistant Casey Alexander, former Georgia Tech assistant Kevin Cantwell and former Yellow Jacket standout Mark Price.

Preston has a background in academic improvement that the Owls need, which is something that Williams said helped his candidacy. Preston oversaw that area as an assistant at Coastal Carolina from 1998-2000.During his interview, Preston presented a plan to ensure that his players maintain their discipline in the classroom. He said he will make sure the players understand that they will be held accountable. Accountability is a byproduct of trust. Preston said he plans on spending a lot of time with his players in different team-building drills, in addition to talking to their parents, high school coaches and AAU coaches in an attempt to learn as much as he can about them. He said he’s confident they will be doing their homework about him.

The accountability is necessary because Kennesaw State has failed to meet the minimum score in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate in the last two reports and expects to lose scholarships and practice time as part of historical penalties when the next set of scores come out later this year. The APR uses a formula to track students’ academic progress over a four-year period. A perfect score is 1, 000. The NCAA demands a minimum score of 925. The Owls posted scores of 883 (2008-09) and 843 (2007-08) the past two years.

As expected, Williams said he did his homework on Preston’s classroom credentials, reaching out to the academic advisors he’s worked with in the past.

“It all checked out the way I knew it would, Williams said. He placed a high value on the academics and compliance. I want my coaches to be fundamentally sound in those areas.

“We’re trying to find outstanding people that have a commitment to academics and the whole student-athlete.”

The Owls won the 2004 Division II national championship before the university announced it was becoming a transitional Division I team in 2005-06. They became a full-fledged member of the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2009.

Preston is good at developing big men because he was a slightly undersized 6-foot-8 banger with the Keydets. He is the school’s record holder in career blocked shots (202), including a school-record 65 in 1992. He twice led the Southern Conference in blocked shots, finishing as its second all-time leader. He averaged 10.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game before he graduated and pursued a productive career in Europe.

Preston also has a reputation nationally as a strong recruiter. Williams said Preston’s ties to South Carolina, Florida the midwest and northeast will only help Kennesaw State.

“This is not a stretch, Williams said. He’s not rebooting. We seek to be the best. He’s been around some of the best.”






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