Looney Named Idaho State Men’s Basketball Coach

Ryan Looney has been named Idaho State’s 22nd head men’s basketball coach. Idaho State Director of Athletics Pauline Thiros made the announcement to players on Wednesday. Looney will be formally introduced at a press conference on Friday at 11 a.m. in the Quad Lounge of the Pond Student Union Building.

“Coach Looney’s record of success is undeniable. He has demonstrated that he has the championship blueprint in three programs, and most importantly, his values and commitment to excellence align with the growing strong culture in Idaho State Athletics,” Thiros said. “His ability to recruit and develop players is proven, and his success is consistent evidence of his talent in the tactical aspects of the game.”

Success has followed Looney everywhere he has gone. He is coming to Pocatello after spending three years as the head coach at Point Loma Nazarene where he is fresh off guiding his team to the Division II National Championship game.

“I am thankful to President Kevin Satterlee and Athletic Director Pauline Thiros for trusting me with such an important position at Idaho State University,” Looney said. “I understand the impact our program can have on the campus. ISU will get my very best every day and it will be the expectation that our student-athletes do the same. My family and I are excited to get to Pocatello. We plan to not only fully engage ourselves on campus but in the community as well.”

“I know we have a big challenge ahead of us. It will be great to start communicating and working with our current student-athletes on the team,” he added.

In 15 seasons as a head coach at the Division II and NAIA level, Looney as compiled an impressive 330-132 record (.714 winning percentage) and a 198-82 record in conference games (.707 winning percentage).

“The process to select Idaho State’s next basketball coach was rigorous and thorough,” ISU President Kevin Satterlee said. “I had the opportunity to speak with Coach Looney a few days ago, and I am confident that he will be a great leader for our basketball team and contribute to the players’ growth as athletes and successful students.”

This past season Point Loma finished 31-5 and 20-2 in PacWest Conference play. Looney recruited and developed the NCAA Division II Player of the Year Daulton Hommes. Hommes averaged 21.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting .533 percent from the field and .470 percent from 3-point range. He was even better in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 23.5 ppg and shot .526 percent from behind the arc (20-of-38).

During his two previous seasons, Looney has guided the Sea Lions to a 38-23 record and to its first NCAA West Regional appearance.

In his first season, he led the team to a 17-13 record and a sixth place conference finish for the regular season. That year Looney helped the Sea Lions carry that momentum into the PacWest Tournament where they made a run to the championship game. PLNU knocked off the No. 2 and No. 3 seeded teams in the tournament on last-second shots, before falling to Hawaii Pacific in the championship game.

During the 2017-18 season, Looney guided PLNU to a 21-10 record and a 15-5 mark in the PacWest. The Sea Lions finished fourth in the conference standings, marking their best-ever PacWest finish, to earn the No. 8 seed as an at-large bid into the NCAA West Regional.

He also helped guide Point Loma to the nation’s best rebounding margin as PLNU led all of NCAA Division II at plus-11.9. Four Sea Lions earned All-PacWest honors during the 2017-18 campaign and Josh Rodriguez became the PacWest leader in career assists.   

Looney joined the Green and Gold after spending seven seasons as the head coach at Seattle Pacific. During his tenure, the Falcons won at least 20 games each season and have NCAA West Regional appearances in all seven years. He was a two-time Great Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and his team won the league title in both 2010 and 2014. He also guided the Falcons to three straight GNAC Tournament Championships (2013-15) and had a 164-51 overall record (.763 winning percentage) with SPU for the best winning percentage in school history.

Looney has also had great success in student-athlete development both on and off the court. The Falcons excelled in the classroom during Looney’s tenure where they received three consecutive Team Academic Excellence Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), with the latest in July 2015.  SPU compiled an impressive 3.41 combined GPA and, for the fifth consecutive season, earned the GNAC trophy for posting the top GPA among the league’s men’s basketball teams. That figure was the highest in the conference for a men’s team in any sport. Looney also coached David Downs and Chris Banchero to GNAC Player of the Year honors, in addition to leading his team to wins over a NCAA Division I opponents Arizona, Nevada and Eastern Washington.

Prior to joining SPU, Looney coached at his alma mater of Eastern Oregon University. As a coach, he led the Mountaineers to back-to-back NAIA Tournament appearances and their first conference title in 38 years.

Looney graduated from EOU in 1998 and earned his master’s degree in sports administration from Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 2001. He is married to Julianna, and the couple has two children, daughter Peyton and son Micah.