University of Denver Vice Chancellor for Athletics & Recreation and RC Operations Peg Bradley-Doppes announced this morning that former Pioneer point guard and current University of Colorado assistant coach Rodney Billups has been named the new head coach of the men’s basketball program at DU. Billups replaces Joe Scott as the 32nd head coach of the Pioneers’ program.
“We’re thrilled to be welcoming Rodney back to DU and couldn’t be more excited to have him take over the leadership of our men’s basketball program,” says Bradley-Doppes. “Rodney was an outstanding student-athlete who embodied the characteristics of a successful Pioneer. He has clearly taken those traits with him into his coaching career.
“Rodney is a dynamic, energetic coach with a passion for the collegiate game. He exemplifies the type of individual our University is proud to have representing us in the community as well as on the floor. We’re looking forward to having Rodney lead our men’s basketball program into an exciting new era, and we’re confident in his ability to create and develop a winning environment here.”
Billups has served on the Buffaloes’ coaching staff for the last six years. During Billups’s time with the program, Colorado accumulated 130 victories, which have included five of CU’s nine 20+ winning seasons in school history. The Buffaloes have had six straight seasons of postseason play (2010-2016) and three straight NCAA Tournament berths (2011-14) and a fourth appearance in 2016.
“My first priority will always be the student-athletes and their development in the classroom, on the basketball court and in the community as model citizens.”“It’s an unbelievable feeling that I have to return back to DU,” Billups said. “Not just to the basketball program, community, campus and Daniel College of Business where I graduated from. I’m very thankful for the opportunity that has been given to me by Peg, Chancellor [Rebecca] Chopp, Chancellor Emeritus [Daniel] Ritchie, and the Board of Trustees members that believe in me. I truly believe that there is no one as prideful about this university, this program, this city and this state as I am.”
A native Coloradan, Billups graduated George Washington High School in 2001 prior to commencing his standout collegiate career at DU, serving as the Pioneers’ starting point guard from 2002-05. At DU, Billups averaged 8.5 points, 4.6 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game over the course of his 90-game career. In his senior season of 2004-05, Billups was named co-recipient of the Floyd M. Theard Jr. Memorial Award, presented each year to the DU men’s basketball player who best displays the qualities of leadership, scholarship and sportsmanship. Billups was named an All-Sun Belt Conference third-team selection in 2004-05, the same season he helped the Pioneers win 20 games and earn a National Invitation Tournament berth.
“Our entire university community is excited to welcome back one of our own, a DU alum, to lead our men’s basketball team,” University of Denver Chancellor Rebecca Chopp said. “Rodney is a perfect fit for DU. As a man of character and integrity, he is a positive reflection of who we are, now and into the future. Rodney understands what it means to win and to guide our student-athletes to earn their degrees while representing all of us with pride. On behalf of all Pioneers, let me extend a warm welcome back to Rodney.”
“Rodney Billups has all the qualities to be a terrific head coach at the Division I level,” University of Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said. “He has been instrumental in our success at the University of Colorado over the past six years and is very deserving of this opportunity. The University of Denver has made a great choice in naming Rodney Billups as their head basketball coach.”
After graduating from DU with a degree in business management in 2005, Billups played professional basketball for ASK Riga in Latvia (2005-06), where he led the league in steals and assists. He then played one season in Finland (2006-07). Hired by Colorado as the Director of Basketball Operations in 2010, he was promoted to assistant coach in 2012.
“I plan to play a very fast and entertaining brand of basketball that will capture the fans that we’ve lost, the loyal fans that we still have and the former players who are waiting for fun times again,” Billups added. “My philosophies will always be defending and rebounding. Offensively we are going to recruit players and develop the players that we already have to be very confident and skilled to compete for championships.”
Photo Courtesy Denver Athletics