Following up on HoopDirt.com’s DIRT from earlier this week….
After an exhaustive and thorough nationwide search, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Director of Athletics Griz Zimmermann announced the hiring of Rodney “Mac” McConnell as the new Head Men’s Basketball Coach.
“This is an excellent hire for the men’s basketball program,” said TAMIU President Dr. Pablo Arenaz. “I am excited to see the success Coach McConnell will bring to Dustdevil Basketball.”
Mac McConnell brings with him nearly two decades of coaching experience at multiple levels. His history of recruiting and developing players is vast, including 12 former players who have gone on to play professionally, as well as 27 all-conference players and two All-Americans.
“We are proud to welcome a coach with such a long and successful history as Mac into the Dustdevil family,” said Zimmermann. “I have no doubt that his blue collar work ethic and drive, along with his knowledge of what it takes to win will bring this program back to where it has been in the past.”
McConnell comes to TAMIU after three seasons as the associate head coach at fellow Lone Star Conference (LSC) school Tarleton State University. While with the Texans, he helped guide the team to three straight appearances in the LSC Tournament. McConnell coached five All-LSC players, as well as the 2019 LSC Defensive Player of the Year. He was previously at Tarleton as an assistant coach for the 2004-2005 season and helped guide the team to a berth in the NCAA Division II Final Four.
“First, I would like to thank my family and the almighty Jesus Christ for this blessing,” said McConnell. “I want to thank the entire Tarleton family, Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Lonn Reisman, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Reisman, current University President Dr. Hurley and former President Dr. Dottavio for giving me an opportunity to be a part of a wonderful university and championship program.”
“I would like to sincerely thank TAMIU President Dr. Pablo Arenaz and Director of Athletics Griz Zimmermann for believing in my ability as a head coach and giving me an opportunity that I will always be thankful for. Also thank you to the entire TAMIU and Laredo communities. I am excited and can’t wait to get started. We will use the blue collar blueprint that I’ve learned from my mentors and personal experience throughout my years of coaching to build a championship program.”
Before arriving at Tarleton for his most recent stint, McConnell spent two seasons at NAIA Wiley College as associate head coach. At Wiley, he helped guide his team to a 25-10 record in the 2016-2017 season with a berth in the NAIA National Tournament. While there, his team knocked off NCAA Division I Sam Houston State and Grambling State, as well as seven wins over ranked NAIA opponents in two seasons. He also coached two First Team All-Americans and two First Team All-Conference players.
McConnell spent two seasons as the head coach at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. At ECU, his team knocked off top-ranked Newman in the 2012-2013 season. He also coached two all-conference players.
McConnell earned his first opportunity as a head coach at Ranger College, a junior college in Ranger, Texas, where he spent four seasons. While there, he led his teams to back-to-back 20-win seasons, including a 24-10 record in 2009-2010 which at the time was the program’s best record in 20 years.
He also had stops as an assistant coach at Angelo State, McNeese State, University of Montana-Missoula and Hill College.
“Mac has a reputation as a tireless recruiter and an excellent developer of talent,” said Zimmermann. “With a coach of his caliber, I am excited to see how our men’s basketball program’s level of talent will improve under his leadership.”
As a player, McConnell played for three years at Tarleton posting a record of 53-29 under legendary head coach Lonn Reisman.
A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, McConnell earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton.
A press conference to introduce Coach McConnell will be held in the TAMIU Kinesiology and Convocation Building lobby at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, March 23 with limited attendance.