McKendree University men’s basketball coach George Suggs has announced the addition of Peoria, Ill., native Hank Mathews as his new assistant coach for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
“Hank brings a great passion for the game of basketball. He is a proven winner, both as a collegiate player and coach and understands what it takes to be successful,” Suggs said. “We’re excited to have Hank join our men’s basketball program and I know the campus, the community and all of Bearcat nation will appreciate his enthusiasm, energy and work ethic.”
Mathews replaces Trend Blackledge on Suggs’ staff as Blackledge recently stepped down at McKendree to become an assistant coach for the NBA G-League’s Salt Lake City Stars.
The Bearcats new assistant coach, who began his duties at McKendree on Monday, Oct. 17, comes to McKendree after spending the 2021-22 season as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Lincoln (Ill.) College on Edwind McGhee’s staff. After his time at Lincoln, which closed its doors at the end of the 2021-22 school year, Mathews was hired as an assistant coach at North Central Missouri College, which is located in Trenton, Mo.
“I am extremely excited to get the chance to join Coach Suggs’ staff here at McKendree University,” Mathews said. “I am grateful for the opportunity that Coach Suggs has given me and I’m ready to help continue the great tradition and history of this basketball program.”
In his one season at Lincoln, Mathews helped guide the Lynx to a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) tournament runner-up finish.
Prior to serving as an assistant coach at Lincoln, Mathews spent two seasons (2019-21) as a graduate assistant coach at Columbia College in Columbia, Mo.
In his time at Columbia, Mathews assisted in all aspects of the program and was a part of a Cougars program that amassed a 37-19 record, and he helped recruit and coach seven All-American Midwest Conference (AMC) performers, including the 2020-21 AMC Newcomer and Player of the Year, as well as the 2020-21 AMC Freshman of the Year.
Mathews also played a role in academics with the Cougars as the program earned an NABC Team Academic Excellence Award in 2019-20 for their efforts in the classroom and placed 12 players on the 2020-21 Academic All-Conference Team.
The Peoria, Ill., native, who attended Limestone High School, graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies in 2018 while lettering for two seasons (2016-18) for the Cougars. As player, Mathews was a member of Columbia’s back-to-back AMC regular season championship teams in 2016-17 and 2017-18 and also played on two teams that qualified for the NAIA National Tournament, including advancing to the quarterfinals in 2016-17. As a senior in 2017-18, Mathews was named a Columbia Athletic Department’s P.A.W. (Passion, Attitude and Work Ethic) Award winner.
Prior playing at Columbia College, Mathews began his collegiate career at Truman State University in 2013 as he sat out the 2013-14 season as a redshirt, before playing in 15 games and averaging about three points per game in 2014-15, before transferring and playing the 2015-16 season at Wabash Valley Community College in Mt. Carmel, Ill. At Wabash Valley, he played in 29 games and made 10 starts and averaged 7.2 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 47 percent from the field and 43 percent from the 3-point line.
Along with holding a bachelor’s degree from Columbia, Mathews earned his Master of Arts in Teaching from Columbia College in 2021.