Mark Adams joins East Carolina Basketball Staff

Mark Adams is joining the coaching staff at East Carolina University according to an announcement by head men’s basketball coach Michael Schwartz on Friday.

Adams recently served as the head coach at Texas Tech for two seasons where he led the Red Raiders to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and a 27-10 record in his first season, earning 2022 Associated Press Big 12 Coach of the Year and the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year honors. Adams boasts a career head coaching record of 597-269 in 25 seasons.

“We feel very fortunate about the addition of Mark Adams to our program and coaching staff,” Schwartz said. “His success in this game at all levels of college basketball, both as an assistant and head coach speaks for itself. He will bring so much experience and knowledge to both our coaching staff and student athletes. Coach Adams’ defense first mentality fits perfectly with our program’s foundation.”

In Adams’ first season in Lubbock, the Red Raiders went 18-0 at home for the first time in program history, earned the third seed in the Big 12 Championship tournament where they reached to the finals for the second time in program history and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fifth time since the expansion of the national tournament. His 27 wins are the most by a first-year head coach in Texas Tech basketball history. 

Adams was also one of four finalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year in a season where the team began the year unranked before finishing at No. 12 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Tech’s success came with Adams constructing a new coaching staff that rolled out a team of eight newcomers and five returners. Under Adams, Texas Tech finished at No. 1 in the adjusted defensive efficiency rating and was ninth nationally by holding opponents to only 38.6 percent shooting and 11th with teams averaging 60.6 points per game. The Red Raiders went 12-6 in conference play, including a 9-0 record against Big 12 teams at home. 

An assistant and associate head coach within the program over the past five seasons, Adams has won at every level where he had recorded a 554-244 career record as a head coach before taking the Tech position. His list of accomplishments over the five years as Tech’s associate head coach includes helping the program to 112 wins, making three straight NCAA Tournaments for the first time in history, winning the 2019 Big 12 regular-season championship and advancing to the 2018 Elite 8 and 2019 NCAA National Championship final.

A 1979 graduate of Texas Tech and Brownfield, Texas native who led Howard College to the 2010 NJCAA National Championship, Adams has extensive head coaching experience on his resume. His head coaching success includes Clarendon College (1981-82), Wayland Baptist (1983-87), West Texas A&M (1987-92), Texas Pan-American now Texas Rio Grande Valley (1992-97) and Howard College (2004-13). He was inducted into the Wayland Baptist Hall of Honor in September 2017 and to the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020. He spent the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons as Tech’s Director of Basketball Operations before returning for the 2016-17 season as the lead assistant and being promoted to associate head coach in 2019.

Overall, Adams guided his teams to 14 postseason appearances and a .700 postseason winning percentage as a head coach and reached the national tournament of each school’s respective classification eight times (three NJCAA, two NCAA Division II and three NAIA). Wayland Baptist secured a spot in the 1985 NAIA National Final. He has earned 15 Coach of the Year honors during his tenure as a head coach. and has captured six region, conference or district Coach of the Year honors over his career.

Widely regarded as one of the best defensive coaches at any level of basketball, Adams led Tech to the nation’s top defensive efficiency rating during the run to the 2019 NCAA National Championship Final and leading the Big 12 by limiting opponents to only 63.2 points per game last season. The Red Raiders, who won the 2019 Big 12 Conference regular-season championship for the first time in program history, were second in the country by holding teams to 37.0 percent shooting, third by limiting the opposition to 59.5 points per game and led the Big 12 with opponents only shooting 29.8 percent on 3-pointers during the run to the Final Four and the National Runner-Up finish. Tech was coming off a banner season in 2017-18 on the defensive end where it limited their opponents to 64.8 points per game and a 40.1 shooting percentage to pace the Big 12 conference in 2017-18. Both marks were ranked inside the NCAA’s Top 20, and it marked the first time in program history that Texas Tech ended the season as the Big 12 leader in both defensive categories.

The Red Raiders have held the opposition to 60 or less points on 59 occasions over the past five seasons with Adams as an assistant coach. Tech held four opponents in the 2019 NCAA Tournament to under 60 points, including earning a 63-44 win over Michigan in the Sweet 16 and then a 61-51 win over Michigan State in the Final Four. The 2020-21 team limited 13 opponents under 60 and finished at No. 20 in adjusted defensive efficiency, including securing a 65-53 win over Utah State in the NCAA Tournament first round. As an assistant, Adams is now 9-3 in the NCAA Tournament at Tech and 10-4 overall.

The Red Raiders finished the 2017-18 season with a 27-10 record, the program’s first NCAA Elite Eight appearance and a program-best No. 6 final ranking in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 poll. Texas Tech also captured a program-best second place finish in the Big 12 regular season and set a program single season mark with 11 Big 12 victories before breaking that mark the next season.

Adams served as an assistant coach on Chris Beard’s Little Rock staff during the 2015-16 season. The Trojans started a historic campaign with 10 straight wins and finished with a 30-5 mark. Little Rock claimed the Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles, and the Trojans knocked off No. 12-ranked and fifth-seeded Purdue by an 85-83 margin in double overtime at the NCAA Tournament. The 15-game improvement for Little Rock was tied for the NCAA’s top spot in 2015-16.      

The Trojans were one of the nation’s top defensive units and paced the Sun Belt conference in points per game (60.8), field goal percentage defense (39.5) and three-point field goal percentage defense (30.1). All three marks were among the NCAA’s Top 30 fueled by 60.8 points per game which was fourth. 

Adams led Howard College located in Big Spring, Texas to the 2010 NJCAA National Championship and was named the NJCAA’s National Coach of the Year. The team was led by current Utah Jazz forward and NJCAA Player of the Year Jae Crowder who averaged 18.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals under Adams in 2009-10.

Adams recorded 233 victories with the Hawks from 2004-13 and advanced to the NJCAA Regional Tournament in nine consecutive seasons. The 2006 team racked up a program single season record 36 wins, and Charles Burgess tucked away the NJCAA Player of the Year award. Adams led his teams to three conference championships and six trips to the regional finals over his nine-year run.

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