Kennesaw State Basketball Staff Update

Photo Courtesy Kennesaw State Athletics

Kennesaw State men’s basketball head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim finalized his coaching staff Wednesday, announcing the additions of Ben Fletcher, Tanner Smith, Pershin Williams and Griffin McHone.

Fletcher will serve as the men’s basketball Associate Head Coach while Smith and Williams, both local Georgia products, have been named Assistant Coaches. McHone will serve as the new Director of Operations and Tre Murrell will remain on staff as the Director of Player Development.

“When thinking about putting together my staff for Kennesaw State I wanted three characteristics in my assistants- integrity, work ethic and alignment,” explained Coach Abdur-Rahim. “I wanted men who aligned with the values of our university, our community, and me as a Head Coach. Ultimately, I wanted men who on a daily basis would make an impact on our current student-athletes, be able to recruit and impact our future student-athletes. In hiring this staff, I believe we hit on all those aspects. We hired high character men who believe in the vision of what can be accomplished here at Kennesaw State.”

Ben Fletcher, Associate Head Coach
Ben Fletcher joins Kennesaw State following 14 seasons as an assistant coach at Troy University. He was named an assistant coach in June 2005 after helping the program as a student assistant for two years.

“Coach Fletcher is someone I’ve known for 15 years, having competed against him in college and growing with him in the coaching profession,” said Abdur-Rahim. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience both on the court and on the recruiting trail. Coach Fletcher’s ability to recruit the southeast will help build our brand across the region. The energy he’ll bring on a daily basis to our program will be invaluable to our young men.”

Originally from Selma, Ala., Fletcher has the distinction of being a member of both Trojan squads that reached the NCAA Tournament, first as a player on the 2002-03 team and then as a coach with the 2016-17 team.

Fletcher has been instrumental in the Trojans’ rise in the Sun Belt Conference, culminating in Troy’s first Sun Belt title in 2010 and second-straight postseason berth.

Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Fletcher was one of the greatest players in Troy’s Division I history, playing for the Trojans from 2001-03. He was named first-team All-Atlantic Sun his senior year (2002-03), helping the Trojans to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance at the Division I level. During that season, he made a Troy Division I single-season record 92 3-pointers, eventually broken by Hunter Williams who played for Fletcher.

“I’m very excited to be a part of Coach Amir’s staff,” said Coach Fletcher. “I think his vision for the program is in alignment with the administration and I think the resources are in place for this to be a very successful situation.”

Tanner Smith, Assistant Coach
A Georgia native playing his prep career at Wesleyan High School in Norcross, Tanner Smith returns home after spending the last year as Mississippi State’s Director of Operations.

“Coach Smith is someone that I didn’t know previous to hiring him, however, he came highly recommended from future Hall of Fame Coach Ben Howland at Mississippi State,” continues Abdur-Rahim. “His reputation and work ethic in our profession is very well respected and his ties to the Metro-Atlanta area will pay dividends on the recruiting trail right away. Being able to add his experience as a player both collegiately and professionally will be a great resource for our young men. Lastly, what he’s done to impact his community with his non-profit organization ‘Tanner’s Totes’ is a great example for our student athletes that shows them how to do for others.

Before his stint at MSU, he spent three seasons with the Charlotte 49ers. Smith served his first two years as the 49ers’ Director of Operations before being promoted to assistant coach in 2017.

A former standout at Clemson, Smith finished his illustrious career with 986 points, 459 rebounds, 320 assists and 159 steals while helping Clemson earn three NCAA Tournament bids. Smith not only excelled on the court but in the classroom as well, becoming only the second player in Clemson history to earn ACC All-Academic honors four times.

“I’m really humbled to be back in Atlanta,” said Coach Smith. “Coach Amir is an incredible leader and someone who is going to do a great job here and I am excited to help. I’m excited to get back in the Atlanta area and make Kennesaw State as special of a place as possible because we have all the resources here to be successful and all the right people on board and we are excited to get to work.”

Pershin Williams, Assistant Coach
Another Georgia product out of Columbus, Pershin Williams joins the Owl family following a three-year stint as the assistant men’s basketball coach at Columbus State University.

“Coach Williams is someone that I’ve known for almost 10 years,” said Abdur-Rahim. “His experience at almost every level of basketball has given him a unique outlook on the game. Having recruited and coached against him while he was at Georgia Southern, I gained a great deal of respect for him and his work ethic. He is someone who knows the state of Georgia and has built real relationships in our state which will help us keep the best players in state. Coach Williams’ personality and enthusiasm will be infectious for our entire program.”

In his first season with the Cougars, Columbus State captured a share of the Peach Belt Conference West Division title, reached the PBC Tournament final and appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season.

Williams, a former Cougar player from 2000-03, has more than 10 years of collegiate coaching experience under his belt. Prior to joining the CSU staff, Williams spent two years as the head boys’ basketball coach at Hardaway High School in Columbus.

Before that, Williams was at Nyack College for a season after serving on the Georgia Southern coaching staff for four seasons (2009-13). During his time at Georgia Southern, Williams helped coach five All-Southern Conference players.

Williams started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech for two seasons before spending one season at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (2007-08) and Lafayette (2008-09).

“I’m truly excited about joining the Kennesaw State staff,” said Coach Williams. “I think KSU is a great fit, a great situation, and I’m excited to get to work and do great things. I’ve known Coach Amir for a while, he’s a terrific coach and he’s going to do an unbelievable job here so I’m excited about the opportunity.”

Griffin McHone, Director of Operations
Griffin McHone will become the new basketball Director of Operations after working as a graduate manager for Texas A&M men’s basketball. A Boerne, Texas native, McHone graduated with a degree in exercise and sport science from TAMU.

“This was a special hire for me,” said Abdur-Rahim. “To be able to hire Coach McHone and give him his start in the business is something that gives me great pride. Coach McHone started out as a student manager for us at Texas A&M before being promoted to Graduate Assistant. He was involved in every aspect of our program and was an integral part of us reaching two Sweet Sixteens in three years. He is the epitome of a grinder. No task is beneath him and he’s a solutions/results type of guy who will absolutely get things done in our program. There is no question that he’s earned this position.”

No stranger to the ins and outs of coaching, he comes from a long line of basketball coaches. His father, Kimble McHone, has coached the Boerne High School basketball team since 2009, while his grandfather Morris McHone has been a collegiate and professional basketball coach for over 40 years, including a stint as the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs in 1983.

During his prep career at Boerne High School, McHone was an all-state basketball player being named an all-region and District MVP selection three times.

“It’s great getting back to work with Coach Amir,” said McHone. “I always knew he was going to be a head coach one day and I am just glad to be a part of it.”

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