Northeastern State has hired Nate Kennedy as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball program, head coach Mark Downey announced on Wednesday.
Kennedy and Downey are no strangers to each other, with the pair working together at the University of Charleston and later at the University of West Alabama.
“Nate has the two qualities, among many others, that you always look for in a great assistant, loyalty and work ethic,” said Downey. “Nate is my guy, he believes in me, he believes in our system, and he does a tremendous job of communicating what we want to our players.”
“Nate isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and tackle any and every task no matter how big or how small. I am excited to welcome him to Northeastern State, he has always been part of my family.”
Kennedy comes to NSU from the University of Montevallo (NCAA Division II) where he assisted the Falcons to three straight Peach Belt West Conference Championships and one Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship in 2015.
The Falcons made two NCAA tournaments appearances with their best being in 2015 where they reached the regional finals.
At Montevallo, Kennedy helped graduate 11 senior athletes who exhausted their eligibility and coaching five All-Conference selections including two All-Americans.
During the 2013-14 season, Kennedy worked with Coach Downey’s staff at West Alabama (NCAA Division II) and in one season at UWA, Downey and Kennedy were able to lead the Tigers to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1982. Additionally, they also won a school record 14 games in Gulf South Conference and were Co-Champs of the Battle for Atlantis Mainland Classic defeating NCAA Division I opponents Abilene Christian and The Citadel.
From 2010-12, Kennedy and Downey were together at the University of Charleston (NCAA Division II) where the pair went 31-19, and finished the 2011-12 season ranked No. 17 in the nation. In their second season at UC, they went 26-7 and made the NCAA Tournament as the No. 3 seed.
In seven seasons of college coaching, Kennedy has been part of teams that have an overall record of 114-68, which includes two 20-win seasons, three conference championships, four NCAA tournament appearances, one sweet sixteen and one conference tournament championship. During that span he has coached fourteen all-conference players and three All-Americans.
Kennedy was an accomplished Division II player starting his career at West Liberty University under Jim Crutchfield before transferring to Salem International University. In his final season at SIU, Kennedy started at point guard every game and led the team in assists.
Kennedy graduated from Salem International University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Education degree in Physical Education. He also received a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of West Alabama in May 2015.
“The one thing I have always admired about Nate Kennedy is that he coaches basketball for the right reason,” added Downey. “He is 100% about our players and he will always do right by them. The players in our program are blessed to have Coach Kennedy working with them and for them every day.”