Faulkner elevated to Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Youngstown State

Ethan Faulkner helped orchestrate Youngstown State University’s best five-year stretch of men’s basketball at the Division I level, and he will now take charge of the program as it looks to continue its upward trend as one of the region’s top mid-major programs. YSU Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo announced Faulkner’s promotion from associate head coach to the program’s 14th head coach on Monday.

Faulkner, who joined the YSU staff as an assistant coach in 2019, has served as the program’s associate head coach the last two seasons. He was an integral part of the program’s first regular-season conference championship, first berth to the National Invitation Tournament, and winning 98 games over the last five seasons. Since Faulkner joined the staff, Youngstown State players have garnered All-Horizon League laurels 11 times, including eight in the last three seasons.

“We feel very fortunate to have someone of Ethan’s caliber step into this role and lead our program,” Strollo said. “It was important for us to make this decisive decision to assure our current players, portal transfers, high school recruits, and supporters that the program will continue to succeed. Ethan has earned the trust of our student-athletes along with our recruits, and he worked hand-in-hand with Coach Calhoun to create and maintain a winning culture.”

Faulkner stated he was grateful for the opportunity to lead the men’s basketball program.

“I’m honored to be the next head coach at Youngstown State,” Faulkner said. “I want to thank athletic director Ron Strollo, YSU President Bill Johnson, and our Board of Trustees for their support and confidence in me. I also want to thank Jerrod Calhoun for everything he has done for me personally and our basketball program. YSU basketball has never stood on firmer ground. Our staff and I will work tirelessly to ensure our positive momentum continues with the ultimate goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament.”

Faulkner played a key role in guiding the Penguins to five straight winning seasons for the first time in YSU’s Division I era (since 1981-82). Over the last three years, the Penguins have won a Horizon League-best 41 conference games and a league-high 65 games overall. During that time, YSU has also won 41 games at Beeghly Center, and has won a Division I record 14 home games in both 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Most recently, Faulkner helped the Penguins to their second consecutive 20-win campaign with an overall record of 22-10 in 2023-24. It marked the first time in YSU’s Division I history with back-to-back 20-win campaigns. In 2022-23, Faulkner was effective in helping the Penguins to a school record-tying 24 wins and an overall record of 24-10.

During the 2023-24 campaign, Faulkner helped the Penguins to a 14-6 Horizon League record and a second-place league finish. Youngstown State scored 2,598 points on the year for an average of 81.2 points per game, which ranked second in the league. The Penguins also ranked second in the league in scoring defense allowing just 70.9 points per contest. The Penguins’ 282 3-pointers in 2023-24 also ranked second in school history.

Three players garnered All-Horizon League postseason awards in 2023-24. Ziggy Reid and DJ Burns were named to the all-league second team while Brett Thompson was named to the third team. Gabe Dynes was named to the All-Freshman Team.

In 2022-23, Faulkner helped lead the Penguins to the first regular-season conference championship in program history. YSU finished with an overall record of 24-10 and a 15-5 league mark en route to the Horizon League Championship. The 24 wins tied the program record for most wins in a season and the 15 Horizon League victories also set the record for most conference wins.

He aided the Penguins to 19 wins in 2021-22, which were the most since 2000-01, and a then-school record for most conference wins with 12. That year, Youngstown State secured the program’s second postseason berth in three years with an appearance in the inaugural The Basketball Classic. The Penguins also won its second postseason game with a 70-65 victory over Morgan State.

In the 2020-21 COVID-19 shortened campaign, Faulkner helped the Penguins to their second straight winning season by posting a 15-12 overall record. It marked the first consecutive winning season since the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.

During his first season in 2019-20, YSU finished with overall record of 18-15 and placed fourth in the Horizon League. The Penguins’ 18 wins were the most since 2012-13 while the 10 league wins tied a school record for most wins in Horizon League play. YSU’s 17 regular season wins were the most since 2000-01. The Penguins accepted a berth to the 2020 College Invitation Tournament before it was canceled due to COVID-19.

Before coming to Youngstown State, Faulkner spent the three years (2016-19) at the University of the Cumberlands, one season at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (2015-16) and one year as an assistant coach at Northern Kentucky (2014-15).

During his time at NKU, he coached an Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year and two second-team all-conference players.

As a player at NKU, Faulkner was a team captain for two years while playing in 117 games with 73 starts in his career. He currently ranks in the top 10 in all-time career assists and 11th in all-time free throw percentage.

Faulkner earned his bachelor’s degree in physical and health education from Northern Kentucky in 2014.


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