Following up on a story that HoopDirt.com first reported on Monday (D2 DIRT). Here is the announcement by Clayton State on the change of leadership in their men’s basketball program:
Clayton State University Athletics announced that James Link, head men’s basketball coach, has left the program. Lance Egnatz, the associate head men’s basketball coach, will serve as the interim head coach.
“We would like to thank Coach Link for all he has done for Clayton State Athletics,” said Director of Athletics Ryan Erlacher. “He helped move Clayton State men’s basketball forward and the back-to-back regular season championships in 2016-17 and 2017-18 were exciting times for our program. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Link joined the Lakers in May 2015 following a very successful run as head coach at Division II Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. In his five seasons at the helm of the Orange and Blue, Link compiled a 71-70 record.
Following a 14-12 mark in his first season of 2015-16, the 2016-17 edition of the Lakers would go 16-13 overall but claim a five-way share of the Peach Belt Conference Regular Season Championship, and the top seed in the league’s postseason tournament, with an 11-8 record.
After returning to the PBC Tournament for the first time since the 2012-13 season, the 2017-18 campaign would see Clayton State go even further with one of the best seasons in program history. That year they went 24-7 overall and a team record 19-3 in the PBC to claim the first back-to-back championships since the program moved to Division II in the late 1990’s.
That win total tied the program’s mark during that era and was fueled by an incredible 14 game winning streak that is second only to the 2006-07 team’s 17 in a row to begin that season. The club would have something else in common with that squad as well as they returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade.
Individually, Link is the only coach in the program’s history to be named PBC Coach of the Year, earning that honor following the 2017-18 season.
Interim Head Coach, Lance Egnatz
Lance Egnatz joined Clayton State’s staff in July 2015 and was promoted to associate head coach in October 2019. He brings a wealth of experience from the junior college Division II and Division I ranks. In his previous role, he served as the recruiting coordinator for the program and handled tape exchange, travel arrangements and practice responsibilities in addition to game day coaching and serving as camp coordinator.
A national search to permanently fill Link’s position will be conducted at the conclusion of the 2020-21 basketball season.