Fresno State head men’s basketball coach Rodney Terry has promoted Nick Matson to assistant coach and hired Lamar’s Brian Burton as the Bulldogs’ new director of basketball operations. HoopDirt.com first reported that Burton would be joining Terry’s staff back on August 29th (Fresno State Dirt).
Matson, a native of Roseville, Calif., is entering his seventh season on Terry’s staff at Fresno State after serving as the Bulldogs’ director of basketball operations for the past six seasons. Matson has been a key member of Fresno State’s staff as the ‘Dogs have made postseason appearances in three of the last four seasons, including a NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016 and NIT appearance in 2017.
“Nick has been a loyal and tireless worker over the last six-plus years for our staff,” Terry said. “His energy, dedication and fearless approach have been instrumental in our program’s success. He’s earned this opportunity to be a full time assistant coach for us. He enhances what we do and will help take our program to an even higher level.”
With Matson on staff, Fresno State won the 2016 Mountain West Championship title and the Bulldogs are one of eight schools in the West to have played in either the NCAA or NIT in each of the last two years. In his previous six seasons, Fresno State has had nine all-conference selections, including 2015-16 MW Player of the Year Marvelle Harris and future Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson.
Before coming to Fresno State, Matson spent the 2010-11 season as the graduate assistant at Murray State University under head coach Billy Kennedy. The Racers finished the season 23-9, winning the Ohio Valley Conference Championship, including at 14-4 conference record. While at Murray State, Matson assisted with administrative duties and player development, working with All-American guard Isaiah Canaan.
Matson spent the 2009-10 season as the coaching intern at Stanford University under Johnny Dawkins and received his bachelors’ degree in psychology in 2009 from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI).
He was a guard for the VMI Keydets from 2006-2008 under head coach Duggar Baucom. The Keydets employed an up-tempo offense that set all-time NCAA records for points per game, steals, and 3-pointers made in a season. In 2008-09, Matson served as an undergraduate assistant coach, which was one of the most successful seasons in VMI Basketball history. The Keydets finished the season 24-8, including an upset victory over Kentucky at Rupp Arena.
In his new role as assistant coach, Matson will be primarily responsible for in-game coaching, mentoring, recruiting, scouting and skill development. He replaces Kenton Paulino, who is now on staff at Tulsa
Burton comes to Fresno State as the director of basketball operations after spending three seasons at Lamar as an assistant coach. He is entering his 13th season in college coaching, including past experience in the Mountain West at then-MW member Utah and coaching championship programs throughout his career.
“I have followed Brian’s career over the years,” Terry said of Burton. “I have always admired his communication, presence and the way he interacts with people. We are excited about the experience, energy and dedication that Brian brings in taking our program to another level.”
During his time with Lamar, Burton was an integral part of a staff that produced one of the nation’s top turnarounds as the Cardinals won 15 games in his first season – improving from winning five or fewer games in back-to-back seasons before his arrival in Beaumont, Texas.
Burton was promoted to Lamar’s recruiting coordinator for the 2016-17 season, which saw the Cardinals earn a postseason appearance with 19 wins for the program’s first-ever CIT berth. During the 2016-17 season, Burton helped coached the Cardinals to a road win at Oregon State and had two all-conference honorees, including first-team All-Southland selection Colton Weisbrod.
Burton was pivotal in recruiting and signing multiple Top 50 players out of Texas for Lamar, along with highly touted transfers, including Weisbrod, who was also a junior college first-team All-American and conference player of the year.
Before working at Lamar, Burton also worked as an assistant at Abilene Christian and Utah, and also worked for five successful coaching junior college programs with time at Richland College, Collin College, Paris Junior College and Midland College. Burton received his bachelor’s degree in American studies in business and technology from the University of Texas-Dallas in 2005.