NAIA NEWS: Deer named inaugural Head Basketball Coach at Columbia College (SC)

Director of Athletics Glen M. Crawford has announced the hiring of Jake Deer as the first head coach of the inaugural men’s basketball program that is set to begin play in 2024-25.

“Jake is the perfect addition to our team at Columbia College,” Director of Athletics Glen Crawford shared. “His dedication to his players and the sport of basketball is evidenced through his impressive and dynamic coaching experience. The men who make up our inaugural Men’s Basketball team deserve a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I know Coach Deer is the right man for that job.” 

“I’d like to thank President Dozier and Mr. Crawford for the opportunity to start and lead the Men’s Basketball program at Columbia College,” commented Coach Deer. “I’m excited to get started!”

Deer, a native of Valley, AL, spent the past five seasons (2019-2024) as the head men’s basketball coach at a former AAC school, Point University (Ga.) leading the team to 76 wins over five seasons.

While at Point, Deer increased team wins from 8 the year before he came to 17 in his first season while being named AAC Coach of the Year in 2021 and AAC Regular Season Champions. He coached 5 All-Conference first team selections and increased team GPA from 2.0 to 3.25 over his time at Point while also achieving a winning record in 4 of his 5 seasons. 

During his second year at the helm of Point, Deer continued to build on the success the team had accomplished in the previous season and had the best season in program history. The team finished the season 20-7 and led the Appalachian Athletic Conference going into postseason play. The team received votes and broke into the top-25 at No. 25 in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll for the first time since 2012. The Skyhawks set a new school record during the 2020-21 season with a 10-game winning streak. Deer was named AAC Coach of the Year and had two players earn a spot on the All-AAC first team. He then led the team to another winning record in 2021-22 going 18-16 overall and 13-13 in conference before losing to the AAC Champion Union by 3 in OT in the tournament. His 2022-23 team then went 15-14 overall and 14-10 in conference.

Before heading to Point, Deer served as the Associate Head Men’s Coach for the University of Texas at Tyler (UTT), a NCAA Div. II school, from 2014-2019. While there, he also served as the Asst. Director of Athletic Development and helped the program to 3 winning records in his five seasons along with 57 total wins including going 17-9 in the 2017-18 season.

Before heading to Tyler, Texas, Deer served as the Asst. Men’s Basketball Coach at nearby Francis Marion University in Florence, SC during the 2013-14 season compiling a 12-15 record with 8 conference wins in the tough Peach Belt Conference.

Deer got his start in coaching in 2007 when he began a six-year head coaching stint at Johnson University in Florida (formerly Florida Christian College), a National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Div. II school. From 2007-2013, Deer graduated 90 percent of his players, coached nine all-region selections and three second team All-Americans.

While at Johnson, Deer led his team to 26 wins in the 2012-13 season, including their highest ranking in school history at #2 in 2012. They were the South Region Regular Season Champs in back-to-back years in ’12 and ’13 while also making two NCCAA National Tournament appearances. His 2012 team made the Elite Eight while his 2013 team made the Final Four earning him South Region Coach of the Year. 

Coach Deer also served as Johnson University’s Executive Director of Admissions from 2008 to 2011, helping Johnson’s enrollment increase by 65% in three years.

Deer graduated from Southport High School in Indianapolis in 2000, and attended the University of Southern Indiana for one year before transferring to Florida Christian College.  He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Christian Leadership from Florida Christian College in 2004 and completed his Master of Arts degree in College Athletic Administration from Coker College (S.C.) in the spring of 2015.

Deer and his wife, Carrie, have been married since 2007, and have a daughter, Genesis.

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