Belmont Basketball Staff Update

Belmont University men’s basketball head coach Casey Alexander announced Tuesday changes to the Bruin coaching staff for the 2024-25 season.

Sean Rutigliano has been elevated to associate head coach, Kerron Johnson has been elevated to assistant coach, Harrison Gascho has been extended as director of basketball operations and Luke Smith has been hired as director of player development.

“While we will miss Coach (Tyler) Holloway, are excited for his head coaching opportunity, and appreciate his contributions to Belmont over 15 years, I’m thrilled with the construction of our staff moving forward,” Alexander said.

Rutigliano (roo-till-ee-AH-know) has thrived in numerous capacities within the Belmont program, most notably on-court teaching, player development and game preparation as the Bruins have ranked among national leaders in total victories, conference victories, scoring offense, effective field goal percentage and assists per game during his time with the Bruins.

The Suffern, New York native has been part of eight consecutive 20-win seasons with Alexander and has spearheaded Belmont’s successful run of incoming transfers, including Keishawn DavidsonMalik DiaJayce WillinghamDrew Friberg, Tyler Scanlon and current Bruins Jonathan PierreAidan NoyesBrody Peebles and Carter Whitt.

Rutigliano, who has coached NBA players Ben Sheppard and Garrison Mathews, was recently named to the to the Silver Waves Media Elite 50 list for men’s basketball assistant coaches.

Belmont has had 17 all-conference honorees since Rutigliano joined the staff.

“Elevating Sean with the title of associate head coach alongside Brian Ayers is a direct reflection of Sean’s immeasurable impact within our program,” Alexander said.

Johnson, one of the most decorated players in program history and a Belmont Hall of Fame inductee, spent the previous two seasons as director of player development. The Huntsville, Alabama native has been part of back-to-back 20-win seasons as the Bruins elevated to the Missouri Valley Conference – extending Belmont’s streak of 20-win seasons to 14, dating back to Johnson’s playing career.

Johnson worked closely with two-time all-conference guard Ben Sheppard, who was selected No. 26 by the Indiana Pacers in the 2023 NBA Draft.

He also played an instrumental role in the development of Keishawn Davidson and Ja’Kobi Gillespie, and will continue to work closely with Belmont’s guards.

Johnson will also see an increased role in game planning, scouting reports and recruiting.

During his Bruin playing career, the point guard led Belmont to conference championships in four consecutive seasons, including trips to the NCAA tournament in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The 2011 Belmont team went 30-5, winning conference games by an average of nearly 21 points per game, while the 2013 Belmont team was ranked No. 24 in the RPI.

Johnson ranks among Belmont career leaders in points (1,388), assists (515), steals (206) and free throws made (511).

“In a short time, Kerron has made a significant impact on our program and is most deserving of the opportunity to be an assistant coach,” Alexander said. “His background as a Belmont Hall of Famer and nine-year professional gives Kerron a unique perspective for leading our players on and off the floor.”

Gascho returns for his fifth season with Belmont men’s basketball. He spent the previous two seasons as director of basketball operations.

The Statham, Georgia native will see a broadening of his role within the program, including scouting reports, analytics, practice plans, individual player training and graduate assistant mentorship.

Gascho served as a men’s basketball team manager at the University of Georgia while working for Mark Fox and Tom Crean.

“Harrison has a bright future in coaching and we are eager to watch his professional growth continue an expanded role,” Alexander said. “In many ways, Harrison is the lifeblood for the Bruins, impacting our players, bringing everything together and contributing to team success.”

Smith returns to Belmont after spending this past season as an assistant coach at Trevecca Nazarene University.

The sharpshooter spent three seasons at Belmont and was an integral part of 77 victories, two OVC Regular Season Championships and an OVC Tournament Championship, an automatic bid to the 2020 NCAA Tournament and an at-large bid to the 2022 Postseason NIT.

Smith, a two-time Academic All-America selection, scored 1,588 career points with 273 made 3-point field goals.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Luke Smith back to Belmont,” Alexander said. “As a player, he was as much a coach on the floor as anyone I’ve ever coached.  In the last three years he’s navigated being a successful Belmont player, a head coach, and a difference-making assistant, and the leadership skills that takes. I look forward to watching him kick down new doors in the coming years.”

Brian Ayers continues as a Belmont fixture, and will enter his 27th season on the Belmont coaching staff and 14th as associate head coach in 2024-25.

Belmont University men’s basketball has been a postseason fixture the last two decades, including nine berths to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins have won 20 conference championships since 2006 – third-most nationally over that span (Gonzaga, Kansas). Belmont has won 20 or more games in 14 consecutive seasons (Gonzaga, Kansas, Oregon) and 19 or game games in 19 consecutive seasons (Gonzaga, Kansas, San Diego State). Belmont is among select programs with two or more first-round selections in the NBA Draft over the last five years (Ben Sheppard, Dylan Windler). Belmont University men’s basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 19 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 and is the only NCAA Division I program to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence.

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