Evan Lavery Named Assistant Basketball Coach at Emporia State

Photo Courtesy ESU Athletics

A duo that combined to win two national championships in three years will be reunited as Emporia State men’s basketball coach Craig Doty has announced the hiring of Evan Lavery as his lead assistant coach for the Hornets. After spending three years on Doty’s staff at Rock Valley College, Lavery has spent the last two seasons as the head coach of the Golden Eagles and has a 50-15 career record as a head coach.

“I am absolutely thrilled to come to Emporia State University,” said Lavery. “I have known Coach Doty for quite some time, and I am looking forward to working with him again. I cannot wait to get to work impacting our student-athletes, and helping build the men’s basketball program into something Hornet Nation can be proud of.”

From assistant coach to associate head coach to head coach, Lavery helped build and maintain Rock Valley College as an NJCAA powerhouse. The Golden Eagles are 144-27 (.842), with three trips to the NJCAA DIII National Tournament, and two NJCAA National Championships since he arrived in the Rockford, Ill. school in 2013.

“Evan was my right-hand man in our national championship runs at Rock Valley College,” said Coach Doty. “Evan knows what I expect and how I operate and I know his strengths and personality.”

Lavery has gone 50-15 with two trips to the NJCAA Division III Region IV Championship game in his two years since taking over for Coach Doty at Rock Valley. Last season they went 27-6, the fifth consecutive year where Golden Eagles finished the season with at least 23 wins. Rock Valley also spent all 12 national polls ranked in the NJCAA DIII Top 10 and were ranked high as #2 overall. It was the fourth consecutive season the Golden Eagles spent the entire year nationally ranked from start to finish. RVC posted a 12-3 (.800) record against NJCAA D1 & D2 opponents, including an 87-75 win over #2 NJCAA DII Triton College last season.

Despite RVC losing seven players to graduation, including two All-Americans and four starters, Lavery would lead the Golden Eagles to a 23-9 (.719) record in his first season as head coach which is the highest first year win total for any head coach in the 53 year history of Rock Valley men’s basketball. He led Rock Valley to the Region IV Championship Game while playing one of the toughest schedules in the county which included playing 17 NJCAA D1 & D2 opponents and 15 NJCAA D3 programs. In the classroom, the Golden Eagles were recognized by the NJCAA, earning “Team of The Year” honors for their 3.11 team GPA for the 2016-17 academic year. Over two semesters, 13 total members of the Golden Eagle roster made the Dean’s List (3.25+ GPA).

“Coach Lavery’s two years experience as a head coach will serve our program well,” said Doty. “He is the total package and will positively impact Emporia State, our athletic department and our men’s basketball program.”

In Lavery’s three years on Doty’s staff, Rock Valley went 94-12 overall with national championships in 2014 and 2016 sandwiched around a national runner-up finish in 2015.

“I want to thank Rock Valley College for the opportunity to work on their campus for the last five years,” said Lavery. “Everyone there is top-notch.”

Lavery joined RVC following a one-year stint as assistant men’s basketball coach at NCAA Division III Rockford (IL) University. While at RU, Lavery was in charge of monitoring academics, on-campus visits, and assisted in recruiting.

A native of Dyer, Ind., Lavery graduated from Lake Central HS in 2007. In his prep career, he was named an all-area selection by both the Northwest Indiana Times and the Post-Tribune. He played two years at NJCAA Kishwaukee College in Malta, Ill. where he was a two-year starter and captain. In his sophomore season, he helped lead the Kougars to a sixth place finish at the 2010 NJCAA DII National Tournament. Lavery went on to finish his playing career at Central Methodist in Fayette, Mo. He received his master’s degree from Fort Hays State.

Coach Doty also announced that Quentin Canty will join Emporia State as a graduate assistant this season. He played for Coach Doty at Rock Valley College and was a member of his coaching staff at Graceland last year when they won the NAIA National Championship.

Canty was a member of the men’s basketball program at Presentation College in South Dakota following a three year stay at Rock Valley under Coach Doty. As a senior, Canty was awarded the NAIA North Star Conference Champion of Character Award for his year-long service to an individual with cerebral palsy. Canty spent three total years at Rock Valley including two seasons as a student-athlete and a redshirt year under Coach Doty. At RVC, Canty played in 70 games leading the Golden Eagles to a 50-20 record, two national tournaments including a national runner-up.

“Coach Canty was in my Rock Valley College program for three years and was on my coaching staff on our national championship team at Graceland University this past season,” said Doty. “He specializes in recruiting and player development. Coach Canty is a man of outstanding character and he adds great value to our men’s basketball staff at Emporia State.”


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