Jeremy Ballard knows what it takes to reach the NCAA Tournament. An assistant coach at VCU for the past three seasons, Ballard aided in three-straight trips to The Big Dance. He has now committed to help Illinois State continue its upward trajectory, as ISU head men’s basketball coach Dan Muller announced the hiring of Ballard as an assistant coach Friday.
“I’m extremely excited to add Jeremy to our staff,” Muller said. “He has a great basketball mind, he does things the right way, and he is terrific on the court with the players. Jeremy has been successful everywhere he has coached and is highly regarded in the industry. I know Jeremy will work extremely hard to help us work toward achieving our goals on and off the court.”
In total, Ballard has served as an NCAA Division I assistant for 11 seasons, spending his last three years on Shaka Smart’s staff at VCU (2012-15). Before that, Ballard was with Tulsa for five seasons (2007-12) following a brief stint at Mercer. He began his college coaching career at his alma mater, Colgate (2004-07), where Ballard was a four-year member of the Raiders basketball program (1999-2003), serving as a captain during his senior season.
“I’m ecstatic to be joining the Redbird family,” Ballard said. “I have had the pleasure of knowing Coach Muller for many years, and his success at Illinois State is not the least bit surprising. Following the Illinois State program from afar, I have seen the excitement that is building here and cannot wait to be a part of it all.”
In his three seasons with VCU, Ballard aided in a 79-28 overall record, with 26 or more wins each year. The Rams advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of Ballard’s three seasons, earning at-large bids in 2012-13 and 2013-14, before winning the Atlantic 10 Tournament to clinch an automatic bid in 2014-15. While at VCU, the Rams earned five all-conference accolades, including two first-team honors.
During his first year as an assistant with the Rams, Ballard worked closely with shooting guard Troy Daniels, who went on to set a single-season school record with 124 3-pointers. Daniels now plays for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
Ballard joined VCU after spending five seasons at Tulsa as an assistant coach where he helped guide the Golden Hurricanes to 109 victories, including three 20-plus win seasons. During his time at TU, the Golden Hurricanes had nine all-conference honorees, including a first-team selection in each of his final four seasons at Tulsa.
In his first season, Tulsa piled up 25 wins and a berth in the Conference USA championship game. The Golden Hurricanes eventually won the inaugural CBI Championship, and that postseason appearance was followed by back-to-back NIT showings.
Prior to his time with the Golden Hurricanes, Ballard was an assistant at Mercer and Colgate. During his time as a student-athlete at Colgate, Ballard won the prestigious ECAC Merit Medal Award twice, becoming only the third player in Colgate history to do so. He twice earned Patriot League Academic Honor Roll recognition and was given the title of the team’s best defensive player by the coaching staff during his senior season.
An Atlanta, Georgia, native, Ballard graduated from Colgate in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in religion. He and his wife, Khatera, have a son, Khalif Jamal.
-4/24/2015 1:32:00 PM