KSU coach still ‘right man for the job’
by John Bednarowski
sportseditor@mdjonline.com
March 03, 2013 11:56 PM | 3345 views | 9 9 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite just six wins in 61 games, Kennesaw State men’s basketball coach Lewis Preston still has the support of  athletic director Vaughn Williams.
<BR>Staff file photo
Despite just six wins in 61 games, Kennesaw State men’s basketball coach Lewis Preston still has the support of athletic director Vaughn Williams.
Staff file photo
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KENNESAW — Kennesaw State men’s basketball coach Lewis Preston will be back for the 2013-14 season.

Despite the second-year coach having a two-year record of 6-55, athletic director Vaughn Williams is convinced that Preston will be the coach going forward, and he is already looking forward to the beginning of the new season in November.

“He’s the right man for the job,” Williams said. “He had some things to overcome and he had to change the culture of the program.”

When he was hired, Preston was charged with cleaning up the academic issues that came under former coach Tony Ingle’s watch and landed the program on NCAA probation. Two years later, the men’s basketball team is part of an athletic department that had a combined grade-point average of 3.1.

But while the Owls’ stature in the classroom has improved, their performance on the hardwood has not.

After suffering through a 3-28 season in 20011-12, Kennesaw State went 3-27 this season — a year that came to an end Saturday with a 67-49 loss to Florida Gulf Coast. The lone point of improvement came in Atlantic Sun Conference play, and that was winning two games compared to zero a year ago.

In both of Preston’s seasons, Kennesaw State has failed to qualify for the eight-team A-Sun tournament.

“We were hoping to win more games, there’s no doubt,” Williams said. “(Preston) would have loved to win more games. But we grew and we’re headed in the right direction.”

Fans of the Owls’ program dating back to the Division II days, when the team was winning 20 or more games a year and claimed the 2004 national championship, may disagree.

Kennesaw State entered the season with all-conference performer Markeith Cummings, who went on to finish his career as the Owls’ all-time leading scorer with 2,048 points — the fourth-highest total in A-Sun history.

The Owls also had Aaron Anderson, who completed his three-year career as Kennesaw State’s all-time leading rebounder (743), and point guard Delbert Love, who made last season’s all-freshman team.

But Williams said that, in having to reconstruct the team, some losing may be necessary for long-term success.

“To build anything great, it takes building a strong foundation,” he said. “We’re not trying to do things short-term that may compromise what we are doing for long-term success.”

The 2013-14 season shapes up to be a big one for Preston and the Owls. He will have a complete roster of players he recruited — led by Love, who averaged 12.2 points and was the team leader in assists, steals and 3-pointers.

Kennesaw State will also benefit from the additions of a pair of big men. Bernard Morena, a 6-foot-8 forward, and Willy Kouassi, a 6-10 center, transferred from Auburn last year and sat out the 2012-13 season because of NCAA transfer rules.
Comments
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KSU Alum/Athlete
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March 07, 2013
While the last two season were horrible, I watched at least 20 games go to the wire. I honestly cannot place the majority of the blame on Preston. It's a case of getting rid of bad apples. I know, I know, 6- 55. Yeah that's pretty bad, but I believe not only is Preston a good coach, but he can recruit. Check the record. BTW- you can talk about how good Cummings was, but he never lived up to the hype- a waste of talent/no heart!
Hooter09
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March 07, 2013
The UNC student body hanged Dean Smith in effigy after his 2 year with the tarheels. Not comparing Dean Smith to Lewis Preston, but I think we can cut Coach Preston a break. If it's this bad next year, there are no excuses. They must improve drastically or else.
KSU FAN
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March 07, 2013
This article failed to mentioned the big time stud we got out of Memphis. Nate Rucker. How did we end up with this player still amaze me but his size and D1 experience will be the difference. Our big men will be the best in the league. I'm willing to bet we win 20 next year. The Auburn transfers are still raw with no D1 experience but dang are they big. Rucker will be our future for the next 2 years. Just YouTube him. No way you fire a coach that has to clean up a mess. He took care of the classroom issues in 2 seasons now its time to allow him next season to clean up the losses. If after the season we in the same situation with his new players then we can say let's make a move. Doing it now would be way past stupid.
Owl Mike
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March 07, 2013
You nailed it on the head. I think Rucker will be the difference maker. We have not had a big like this. I saw comments saying these players failed at other places. That's not true. The Auburn guys did not get to prove anything with the way that program is ran so they left. Rucker is here because his coach got fired, he went to juco and Preston banged on the door at the right time. If he is as good as those clips we are about to have some fun next season.
Big Owl
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March 04, 2013
Gee, a vote of confidence hardly seems reasonable ! Two years and a miserable record with a few quality players just does not add up to a program on the way to building a foundation- now the hopes are on players who did not succeed elsewhere ? Go figure ?
JokingForSure
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March 04, 2013
"Some losing may be necessary for long term success."

If this is the kind of culture they want, it's all downhill from here. I'm pretty sure you'll never find another example of a coach going 6-55 and keeping his job. I'm all for giving a guy a chance, but this is stretching it a bit.

If I had to make a guess, I think this has to do with football. If KSU is going to make a conference move, the competition is only going to get tougher. They may be hanging on to him until they switch conferences and make a hire with more experience.

Just to put this 6-55 (two year record) in perspective against his fellow ASUN coaches.

The Mercer coach won 17 games in his first year and led the team to the ASun championship game his second.

The Florida Gulf Coast coach led his team to the championship game in his first year and the team finished in 2nd place in his second season.

The Stetson coach is also a second year coach. He finished in

3rd place this season.

Finally...Northern Kentucky was playing in Division ll last season. They won 9 ASun conference games this season.

6-55!

Crying Fan
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March 06, 2013
A 6-55 record would not cut it at any school after two years. If you have been analyzing the games throughout the season, you come to the conclusion that this guy really can not coach and his assistant coaches are just as bad. You may have to consider replacing the athletic director along with the coach.
KSU Alumni
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March 06, 2013
I think KSU needs to cut their loses with this guy and move on. We need a coach that can coach and ensure that his player are doing work in the classroom. If this is not the case they should just hire a tutor to coach the team. 6-55 is not a foundation it is a failure.
oscar le grouche
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March 07, 2013
The above comments are ignorant of the facts. Neither are comparing apples to apples. Preston got the job in May going into his 1st year = wasted year. Sanctions, etc= not a whole lot of hope for his real 1st year.

Little talent, no bench, sanctions and somehow you are asking him to win 17 games?!? Just goes to show how unrealistic we have all become. Check back next year and stand by your short sighted comments of today....

Of course, it's easy to just spew crap on a message board when you have no real world experienc...
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