Back on 6/25, HoopDirt.com mentioned Greg Sparling as the “HOT” name at he University of Alaska Fairbanks (Daily Dirt – 6/25/18). It’s now been made official that the Nanooks have named the former Central Washington University coach as their new head coach.
Sparling becomes the 12th head coach in program history, succeeding former bench boss Mick Durham, who led the Nooks for the past seven seasons.
“As we strive to create an athletic program for the 21st century, I am honored to have a head coach with the experience and success that Mr. Sparling possesses,” said Keith Champagne, UAF vice chancellor for student affairs. “We know that Mr. Sparling will lead our Alaska Nanooks men’s basketball program in a new direction and will create a winning culture that is built to last.”
Sparling spent the last 24 seasons as the men’s basketball head coach for fellow Great Northwest Athletic Conference member Central Washington University, where he compiled an overall record of 386-253 since taking over the program in 1994-95.
“I would like to thank Chancellor White, as well as Vice Chancellor Champagne, for the opportunity to become the next Alaska Nanooks men’s basketball head coach. I would also like to thank the search committee for their hard work and patience throughout this process,” Sparling said. “. I am looking forward to the challenge of moving UAF men’s basketball to the top of the GNAC as soon as possible.”
“I am very excited to start a new direction within my coaching career and become a part of the UAF family,” Sparling continued. “My family and I are proud to be a part of Nanook Nation.”
After being named the interim head coach at CWU late in the 1994-95 season, Sparling was hired as the Wildcats’ head coach. He helped CWU become a full-time NCAA Division II member in 1998 and guided the program through into the GNAC in the 2001-02 season.
Sparling has registered an overall conference mark of 172-133. Sparling’s teams made six appearances at the GNAC Championship Tournament since its fruition in 2011, advancing to the semifinals three times and winning a GNAC Championship in 2011. His CWU teams also made five appearances at the NCAA Division II West Region Tournament.
Sparling’s best season came in 2010-11, as the Wildcats went 26-4 overall and 16-2 in league play to earn the GNAC Regular Season Championship title before defeating the University of Alaska Anchorage to become conference champions. Following the conclusion of the season, Sparling was named the Co-GNAC Coach of the Year.
Sparling was a member of the CWU men’s basketball team from 1989-91 and served as the team’s co-captain in his senior season. Sparling averaged 9.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a senior and earned the team’s Most Inspirational Player honor both seasons he played at CWU.
Sparling earned a bachelor’s degree in art with a minor in history from Central Washington in 1993, while also serving as the team’s assistant coach under the late Gil Coleman.