Briar Cliff athletic director Nic Nelson has named Mark Svagera the next head men’s basketball coach at Briar Cliff University. Svagera has been the top assistant coach for the Chargers for the past six seasons, helping the team achieve an overall record of 137-61 over that time span. Svagera also aided in BC winning back-to-back GPAC Championships in 2016 and 2017 and qualifying for the national championship on four occasions.
“We are very pleased to announce Mark Svagera as the seventh head coach in Briar Cliff men’s basketball history,” stated Nelson. “Mark has been a major part of our success the past six years. He has been very involved in the recruitment of our guys and has been vital to every aspect of the basketball program. Mark has a great appreciation for the history and tradition of our program. He understands the importance of Briar Cliff men’s basketball and what it means to our alums and the community. I am extremely confident that Mark is the right person to keep Briar Cliff men’s basketball competing at a high level.”
This past season, the Chargers won their second-straight GPAC Championship and qualified for their third-straight national tournament, finishing with records of 26-8 overall and 14-4 in conference play. During the 2015-16 season, Svagera helped the Chargers produce a school record mark of 32-4 with an 18-2 GPAC record. The historic run included the school’s first ever GPAC regular season and conference tournament championships in men’s basketball. The squad reached the Elite Eight at the national tournament.
“I am excited about this opportunity and would like to thank Dr. Shirvani and Nic Nelson for trusting me to lead the men’s basketball program,” said Svagera. “Briar Cliff is a special place. This program means the world to me. Taking over this program is a big responsibility and not one I take lightly.”
Svagera now gets his chance to lead the program and he is humbled to be mentioned alongside the names of coaches who came before him and meant so much to the Briar Cliff program. He said he intends to uphold the proud tradition of Briar Cliff basketball.
“There is a lot of tradition around this program and the last few years have only built upon that. There has been a lot of excitement around here the last few years and I plan to keep that going,” said Svagera.
The new mentor will look to rebuild a team which graduates five seniors in May.
“While I am extremely excited about our returning core, I am also excited about the group of recruits we have signed to play here next year,” said Svagera. “I believe the future is very bright.”
Svagera came to Briar Cliff prior to the 2011-12 season after serving as an assistant coach at Dickinson State University for two seasons. Prior to coaching at Dickinson State, he spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Hastings College. He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Dana College, serving as an assistant with the women’s basketball program during the 2006-07 season.
The Ralston, Neb. native graduated from Ralston High School in 2002 and graduated from Dana College in 2006. He was a four-year member of the Vikings’ basketball program and earned a bachelors’ degree in physical education from Dana, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Hastings.