Head men’s basketball coach Chris Beard has finalized his staff for the upcoming 2015-16 season. Former UALR assistant Wes Flanigan, former NCCU assistant Brian Burg and former Texas Pan-American head coach Mark Adams will all join Beard’s coaching staff, with former Trojan Ted Crass staying on board as the program’s Director of Player Development.
“I am excited about this group of coaches we have been able to assemble,” Beard said. “I believe our coaching staff will excel in the areas of recruiting, player development, coaching and academic support, and will also be a positive group of mentors for our players. Wes, Brian, Mark, and Ted are all high character people and talented coaches. Combined, we have a lot of experience on our staff and our players will benefit greatly. I have the utmost trust and confidence in each of these coaches and together we will do our best to build a basketball program at UALR that our University and Little Rock can be proud of.”
Below is a closer look at each member of Beard’s staff.
Wes Flanigan, Associate Head Coach
A Little Rock native who spent four seasons as a UALR assistant from 2004-08, Flanigan returns home after coaching stops at UAB, Nebraska and Mississippi State. The Trojans won at least 18 games in three of Flanigan’s four seasons at UALR. In Flanigan’s final season in Little Rock in 2007-08, UALR won 20 games while he served as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.
“My entire family and I are ecstatic to be a part of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock again,” Flanigan said. “Little Rock is home to us. It has afforded me and my family so many opportunities and has shaped who I am today. I am very grateful to Chancellor Anderson, Mr. Chasse Conque, and especially coach Chris Beard and his staff for this unique opportunity and their welcoming arms. At this time because of the solid foundation already set, with the support of our fans, it is the perfect time for Little Rock’s Team to reach new heights.”
Flanigan became an assistant coach at UAB in 2008-09. Over two seasons in Birmingham, the Blazers won 47 games and made two NIT appearances. In 2009-10, the Blazers went 25-9 and 11-5 in Conference USA before reaching the quarterfinals of the NIT.
He was an assistant at Nebraska for two seasons (2010-12) before joining Rick Ray’s staff at Mississippi State (2012-15).
Playing for his father, Al, at Little Rock Parkview High School, Flanigan was named the 1992-93 Gatorade High School Player of the Year in Arkansas. He went on to earn four letters at Auburn (1993-97), where he was All-SEC as a junior, team co-captain for three seasons and finished his college career averaging 10.1 points, 4.8 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Flanigan graduated from Auburn in 1997 with a degree in health promotion and was given the Cliff Hare Award for being the university’s top student-athlete.
He and his wife, Katrina, have three sons: Michael Lewis, Allen and Collin. He will officially start at UALR on June 1.
Brian Burg, Assistant Coach
Burg comes to UALR from North Carolina Central, where he helped lead the Eagles to a 53-14 record over two seasons as an assistant coach. He was ranked as the top assistant coach in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in 2014-15 by NextUpRecruits.com.
“I am extremely excited to join the staff here in Little Rock under coach Chris Beard,” Burg said. “”I want to thank coach Beard, Chasse Conque and the UALR administration for the opportunity to be a part of the Trojan family. I feel very fortunate to be a part of a staff that will work to compete for Sun Belt Championships year-in and year-out.”
During his time at NCCU, the Eagles had the best record in MEAC history – 28-6 in 2014-15 – and went to an NCAA Tournament and NIT. Burg coached 2014 MEAC Player of the Year Jeremy Ingram and assisted in the recruitment and coaching of seven All-MEAC players in two seasons.
Prior to his time at NCCU, he spent four seasons as an assistant at Campbell University. In his time at CU the Camels won the Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season title in 2010 while setting new program records for regular season (19) and conference (14) wins. The Camels ranked second nationally in steals per game and eighth in turnover margin.
He served as lead recruiter on All-Big South performers Eric Griffin, who recently signed a contract with the Dallas Mavericks and enjoyed stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat summer teams, and Darren White, who went on to play in the NBDL He assisted in the signing of 2012 Big South Freshman of the Year Trey Freeman. Campbell’s 2010 recruiting class was ranked in the top 64 nationally.
In addition to organizing Campbell’s recruiting efforts, he assisted in all other phases of the program, including on-court coaching, summer camps and daily operations.
A native of Houston, Texas, Burg joined the Campbell program after spending two seasons as the Director of Basketball Operations under head coach Kermit Davis at Middle Tennessee. He was primarily responsible for overseeing the academic progress of the Blue Raider players, video editing and the program’s extensive community service efforts.
Burg earned his bachelor’s degree from Mount Mercy in 2003 and master’s degree from Lake Erie in 2005.
Mark Adams, Assistant Coach
Adams, who has 23 years of head coaching experience, is coming off his second season as Director of Basketball Operations at Texas Tech. He previously served as head coach at Texas-Pan American from 1992-97 as a member of the Sun Belt Conference and led Howard College to a NJCAA National Championship in 2010.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with Chris Beard,” Adams said. “Coach Beard is a proven winner and I am thrilled to be a part of the UALR family and the journey ahead. I am looking forward to building this program to be a strong Division I contender. “
Adams has won at every level, boasting a career coaching record of 554-244 (.694). His head coaching career includes stints at Clarendon College (1981-82), Wayland Baptist (1983-87), West Texas A&M (1987-92), Texas Pan-American (1992-97) and Howard College (2004-13). Adams has won 15 different Coach of the Year honors in his career.
During his 23 seasons as a head coach, he has advanced to the postseason 14 times and reached the national tournament of each school’s respective classification eight times (three NJCAA, two NCAA Division II and three NAIA), including leading Wayland Baptist to the NAIA National Final in 1985.
Adams left an indelible mark at Howard College, winning the 2010 NJCAA National Championship and being named National Coach of the Year the same season. Current Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder averaged 18.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals under Adams in 2009-10.
In all, he captured six region, conference or district Coach of the Year honors in his time at HC.
He recorded 233 wins at the Big Spring, Texas, junior college from 2004-13 and advanced to the regional tournament for nine consecutive years. His 35 wins in 2006 are a single-season program record. In nine seasons, Adams led his teams to three conference championships and the regional finals six times.
With Texas Tech, Adams helped the Red Raiders defeat five top-20 opponents over two seasons. He assisted the program budget and organized the non-conference portion of the Texas Tech schedule.
A 1979 graduate of Texas Tech, Mark and his wife Jennifer are the parents of Luke and Abbie. Luke, a former guard on the Red Raider basketball team, lettered from 2011-2015. His daughter Abbie is recent graduate of Texas Tech and is currently working as a speech therapist. He will officially start at UALR on June 1.
Ted Crass, Director of Player Development
Crass will begin his eighth consecutive year as part of the UALR basketball program in 2015-16 as Director of Player Development. Crass has served as a student manager, player, assistant coach and Director of Operations in his time with the Trojans.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to work with someone as passionate and respected as coach Beard,” Crass said. “I am very passionate about my hometown and alma mater. I want nothing more than to bring championships to Little Rock and I know coach Beard and our staff will do everything we can every day to make that a reality.”
Most recently, Crass was an assistant coach for the Trojans during the 2014-15 season. He assisted with all aspects of the program, including recruiting, evaluating, scouting and budget preparation. Crass spent the 2013-14 season as the program’s Director of Basketball operations following five years as a player and student manager for the Trojans.
Crass first joined the Trojans’ basketball staff as a student manager prior to the start of the 2008-09 season, serving three-plus years in that role before joining the roster midseason in 2011-12. He suited up as a player for the first time at Middle Tennessee on Feb. 11, 2012 and saw the first game action of his career against Florida International just five days later.
A native of Little Rock, Crass played two seasons at Little Rock Central HS under head coach Oliver Fitzpatrick, earning a letter as a sophomore. He graduated from UALR in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communications.
Courtesy: Nelson Chenault