The 2014-15 season was head coach Gregg Nibert’s 26th year in charge of the Presbyterian College men’s basketball team. The winningest coach in program history, Nibert has led the Blue Hose to over 400 wins during his 26 years at the helm.
PC enjoyed its most overall and conference wins in 2014-15, since the 2011-12 campaign, with road wins over Liberty, Longwood and UNC Asheville, which led the Big South standings at the time. PC earned seven victories at home, including against eventual conference tournament champion Coastal Carolina. That win gave Nibert the 400th win of his career. Several players achieved milestones this season, with Jordan Downing becoming just the second player in PC's Division I history to eclipse 1,500 career points, finishing with 1,532 in just his three years at PC. Will Truss, with his 667 rebounds, was just the second player in PC's Division I history to break the 600-rebound mark. Freshman DeSean Murray enjoyed a breakout season, finishing second on the team in scoring and rebounding. For his efforts he was named Big South Freshman of the Year, becoming the first Blue Hose to earn that distinction. Murray and Downing each earned All-Conference honors as well.
As a team in 2014-15, the Blue Hose finished fourth in the conference in rebounding defense, fifth in field goal percentage.
The Blue Hose posted impressive wins in 2013-14, including against Southern Conference foes UNCG and Appalachian State. PC earned league wins against Longwood and UNC Asheville, while Jordan Downing became the fastest player in PC Division I history to reach 1,000 career points. He earned Big South All-Conference Honorable Mention.
PC finished the 2011-12 season with a Division I era record 14 wins and just one shy of its first non-losing season since 2007. Highlighting the season was the 56-54 win over then 20th-Ranked Cincinnati. It was the Blue Hose’s first win over a ranked opponent in Division I history. Khalid Mutakabbir, who recorded the go-ahead three-pointer against the Bearcats, ended the season with 1,075 points, becoming the second player in PC’s Division I history and 21st under Head Coach Gregg Nibert, to go over 1,000 career points. Al’Lonzo Coleman ended a tremendous career at PC with 1,499 points and 786 rebounds. He also broke PC’s Division I record for average points in a season with 16.9. Coleman earned League All-Conference honors, while Jay Reynolds was named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District Team.
The 13 wins by the men’s basketball team in 2010-11 were the most in NCAA Division I history until this the 2011-12 season and included victories over Eastern Kentucky, Auburn and Wake Forest. The Blue Hose won seven Big South games including a victory over Liberty.
Walt Allen was named Big South Scholar Athlete of the Year, while Khalid Mutakabbir earned Player of the Week honors the last week in January. Al’Lonzo Coleman became the first PC player in Division I history and 20th under Coach Nibert to reach 1,000 career points.
PC finished strong in several Big South categories including fourth in scoring defense, second in free throw percentage and three-point field goals made, third in rebounding defense and first in three-point field goal percentage. Mutakabbir was 13th in the league in scoring, with Jake Troyli close behind in 23rd and Pierre Miller in 25th. Miller was seventh in assists and eighth in three-point field goals made, while Troyli was second in free throw percentage.
In 2009-10, Nibert took the youngest team in the nation into some of the most difficult places to play as he redshirted three juniors which comprised nearly 60 percent of the team’s offense during the 2008-09 season. The Blue Hose put together a solid season that saw them be in every league game. He also helped guide PC to a win in the BracketBusters tournament over Jacksonville State, helping the Big South go 2-2 in the field. On Jan. 9, Nibert’s team overcame a 17-point deficit to defeat VMI in overtime, 89-75. The win also marked the highest point total in PC’s Division I history over a Division I opponent.
In his first season in the Big South Conference, Nibert guided the Blue Hose to a .500 record, finishing the year 9-9 in conference play. The squad put together some tremendous wins, including victories over UC Davis, San Jose State and Army in non-conference play.During the Big South portion of the schedule, Nibert’s team began its history in the league by posting wins at Coastal Carolina and High Point. The squad was on TV three times, including the Nov. 10 season-opener at Duke, which was televised by ESPNU. The game marked the first nationally televised contest for any Blue Hose team in school history.
Al’Lonzo Coleman was recognized as a second-team all-conference selection for his tremendous effort while also garnering a place on the all-academic team.
Nibert is the first men’s basketball coach in Presbyterian College history to reach the 300-win plateau, an honor he reached during the 2005-06 season after becoming the first to accomplish 200 wins at PC in the 2000-01 season. Chase Holmes picked up the Freshman of the Week award after scoring a career-high 24 points en route to a victory over VMI in which PC held the Keydets to 38 points below their NCAA-leading points per game average in 2009.
During his 20-year tenure at Presbyterian College, Nibert has compiled six 20-win seasons. His Blue Hose teams finished in the top four in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) regular season standings 14 times, winning the SAC Championship twice (1992-93 & 1996-97) and the Food Lion SAC Tournament title once (1995-96). He has also been named the SAC Coach-of-the-Year twice for his efforts (1993 and 1997).
Nibert is also the only coach in the history of PC basketball to lead the institution to two different postseason tournaments; guiding the Blue Hose to the NAIA National Tournament in 1993 and the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament in 1996, 1997, 2003, and 2006. Nibert is also the only coach in the history of the SAC to coach a squad to the “Sweet 16” of the Division II Tournament. Even more impressive, Nibert has seen 51 out of his 51 seniors graduate from Presbyterian during his tenure.
Nibert led PC to its first ever win at the NCAA Division I level on Dec. 1, 2007 when the Blue Hose defeated Big South Conference foe Radford, 62-60, at the Templeton Center. Overall, PC finished its first NCAA Division I season with five victories. The Blue Hose won all five of their games at home to enter the 2008-09 campaign in the midst of a 12-game home winning streak, which places them tied for the 14th longest activenibert bio
home winning streak in all of NCAA Division I men’s basketball.
One year earlier in their final year in NCAA Division II in the 2006-07 season, the Blue Hose posted a 20-9 record to finish with two consecutive 20-win seasons. PC concluded SAC regular season play in second with a 12-4 mark and advanced to the Food Lion SAC Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinals where they fell to tournament champion and NCAA Division II Elite Eight participant Wingate.
In the 2005-06 campaign, PC compiled a 25-10 overall record including a 10-4 ledger in the South Atlantic Conference, good for a tie at second place in the league. The Blue Hose advanced to the finals of the 2006 Food Lion/SAC Tournament, which earned them an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament, where they advanced to the semifinals.
In the 2004-05 season, Nibert led the Blue Hose to an 18-11 overall record and a tie for third place in the SAC regular season. In addition, the Blue Hose advanced to the semifinals of the 2005 Food Lion SAC Tournament. Nibert led the Blue Hose to a program record-tying 27 wins against nine losses in the 2002-03 season. The team compiled a 9-5 mark in SAC play, good for a fourth-place finish.
In the Food Lion SAC Tournament, PC upset #1 seed Carson-Newman College 69-52 in the semifinals before falling 71-62 to the #3 seed Lenoir-Rhyne College. The Blue Hose received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional and entered the postseason tournament as the No. 8 seed. In the opening round, PC upset #1 seed and No. 13-ranked Columbus State University, 71-59. In the semifinals, PC knocked off the #5 seed Shaw University, 77-58, to advance to the “Sweet 16.” PC’s “Cinderella run” through the NCAA Tournament ended at the hands of #2 seed Bowie State University, 67-53, in the region championship game.
Nibert’s 1996-97 squad posted a 20-7 overall record, which included the program’s second SAC regular season title along with its second straight trip to the NCAA Division II national tournament. The Blue Hose received a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament and finished the season ranked No. 15 in the country.
His 1995-96 team won the program’s first-ever SAC Tournament title and received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
In 1993, Nibert led the Blue Hose team which captured the SAC regular season championship and won a school record 27 games to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The national tournament appearance was the first-ever for Presbyterian College. For his efforts, Nibert was named the Coach of the Year for the state of South Carolina, the South Atlantic Conference and NAIA District 26.
Nibert, a 1979 graduate of Marietta College, began his coaching career at Rice University where he served as an assistant coach under Mike Schuler, who would later earn NBA Coach of the Year honors with the Portland Trailblazers. In 1981, Nibert moved with fellow Owl aide Butch Estes to Clinton, S.C., when Estes accepted Presbyterian’s head coaching job. The Blue Hose would record a 57-35 ledger over the next three seasons, including a pair of 20-win campaigns.
Nibert then moved to Furman University as a part-time assistant coach under Paladin mentor Gene Davis. One year later, Estes took Davis’ spot at the helm of Furman’s program and Nibert was shifted to the full-time assistant’s post, a slot he would man until being named Presbyterian’s 17th head basketball coach on April 26, 1989.
While a student-athlete at Marietta, Nibert, a native of Grove City, Ohio, earned Most Improved Player honors during his junior season and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player following his senior campaign.
Nibert is married to the former Peggy Harling of Simpsonville, S.C., and the couple has two sons, Shaun (24) and Van (20). Shaun graduated from PC and is working for Elevate Church in San Diego, Calif., under the direction of former PC men’s basketball player Kevin Campbell. Van is a junior at PC.