Ben Thompson, who helped guide NCAA Division II Lincoln Memorial University to the National Championship game last season, has been named the next head coach of the SUNY Canton men’s basketball program, Athletic Director Randy B. Sieminski has announced.
Thompson assisted the Railsplitters during their 34-3 season that culminated in the team’s No. 1 national ranking entering the NCAA Tournament as they reached the NCAA Division II title game. His other coaching experience features stops at Division I Virginia Tech, Virginia Military Institute and UNC Greensboro as well as Division II UNC Pembroke and Saint Leo University.
“Ben brings a wealth of top-level collegiate coaching experience along with an outstanding knowledge of the game and a desire to continue our program’s fantastic growth,” Sieminski said. “I look forward to watching him develop our current team while also bringing in additional highly skilled recruits. Our collective goal is to develop this team into a nationally recognized program.”
“This is a very special day for me, as I am humbled and excited for the opportunity to lead the SUNY Canton men’s basketball program,” Thompson said. “I cannot thank President Szafran, Randy Sieminski, Teresa Minckler and the search committee enough for their commitment and faith in me throughout this process. I would also like to thank LMU Athletic Director Matt Green and LMU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Josh Schertz for their mentorship.”
A 2006 graduate of Virginia Tech, Thompson arrives in Canton following a South Atlantic Conference Championship that included a perfect 22-0 regular season mark in conference play, which was the first unbeaten mark in conference history. Prior to joining the Railsplitters he spent the 2014-15 campaign at Virginia Military Institute, where he helped the Keydets lead the Southern Conference in scoring (80.5 points/game) and was named as one of the top five assistant coaches in the SoCon by NextUpRecruits. Prior to his stint at VMI, Thompson served as an assistant coach at UNC Pembroke for three seasons, during which the Braves recorded back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in more than 20 years.
“Ben has a proven record of success,” Sieminski added. “We are looking forward to watching that continue here at SUNY Canton.”
“I am eager and excited to begin working with our student-athletes, administrators, and staff to build upon the recent success of Roos basketball,” Thompson said. “We will be relentless in our pursuit of excellence on and off the court, as well as progressing SUNY Canton men’s basketball to national prominence. I look forward to meeting and building relationships with our alumni, supporters and community.”
Thompson made numerous stops and held a variety of roles leading up to his time in UNC Pembroke. During the 2010-11 season, he was the video coordinator and assistant to the head coach at his alma mater, Virginia Tech. The season before that, Thompson was an assistant coach at Saint Leo University of the Division II Sunshine State Conference. In 2008-09, he was the Director of Basketball Operations at UNC Greensboro. He began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech from 2006-08.
Thompson graduated from St. Paul High School where he played for his father Rick who won the 1991 VHSL State Championship.