Thanks to great sources who had HoopDirt.com way out in front of this one last week (Daily Dirt – 5/3/18). It’s now been made official, Mike DeGeorge has been named as the new Colorado Mesa University Head Men’s Basketball Coach, it was announced Monday by Co-Athletic Directors Bryan Rooks & Kris Mort.
DeGeorge, who has been the head coach at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee for the past eight seasons, was selected from a national search and has turned around three programs in his 17 years as a collegiate head coach.
“We’re fortunate to have found someone of Mike’s integrity joining our staff. He is a person of high quality and we are looking forward to the impact and positive growth that he will have on our student-athletes’ lives,” Rooks said.
“Mike has a proven track record of leadership and the development of his student-athletes, academically, athletically and as members of society and am confident he will bring the same to our program,” Rooks continued.
In 2016-17, the Lynx won both the Southern Athletic Association regular season and tournament championships, advancing to the NCAA Division III National Tournament for the first time in 24 years. He was named as the SAA Coach of the Year while his team led the nation in assists.
Prior to his arrival at Rhodes, the Lynx had had 10 consecutive losing seasons. In just his second year (2011-12), DeGeorge guided the team to an 11-win improvement, the fourth biggest in NCAA Division III that year.
In his third season, the Lynx won a SAA Co-Championship, Rhodes’ first in 20 years. They duplicated that feat in 2014-15 and posted a 20-7 record.
The Lynx also had a 3.2 or higher GPA in all eight of DeGeorge’s seasons with the program.
“I’m thrilled to join Colorado Mesa University as its next head men’s basketball coach. I’d like to thank President (Tim) Foster, Kris Mort, Bryan Rooks, Austin Kaiser and the hiring committee for the opportunity to join such an impressive athletic department,” DeGeorge said.
“From the moment I walked on campus, it was obvious we could build something special here. The campus has been transformed and the University offers such a wide range of high quality academic programs.”
“It’s exciting to know that President Foster and the athletic department values the student athlete model. CMU is an ideal setting to pursue excellence in the classroom and on the court. In addition, there is a clear connection between the city and the University. There is an opportunity to build a culture of excellence within the men’s basketball program that the community will embrace,” DeGeorge said.
Prior to his time in Memphis, DeGeorge was the head coach at Eureka College in Eureka, Ill. from 2000-04 and at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa from 2004-09.
In his five seasons at Cornell, he re-built a program that managed just three wins in 2005-06 to one that won a school-record 21 games in his final year with the Rams. Recruiting and coaching Cornell’s all-time leading scorer and five all-conference players, DeGeorge was named as the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year that season and guided the Rams to their only IIAC Tournament Championship in any men’s sport. They also earned the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance and posted a 3.0 or higher team GPA in all five of his seasons at the helm of the program.
He had turned Eureka’s program around similarly raising a 2-win program into a 17-game winner in his final year with the Red Devils. In 2003-04, they had their most overall wins in a decade.
In total, DeGeorge has earned 195 career wins.
Prior to obtaining his first head coaching position, DeGeorge served as the top assistant at Grinnell (Iowa) College for the 1999-00 season and at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc. from 1994-99. He also assisted Bill Knapton, a 500-game winner and past president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisc. for the 1993-94 season.
A student-athlete himself, DeGeorge was a 4-year member of the Monmouth College basketball team that won two Midwest Conference and four Southern Division championships while making 1989 and 1990 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. He was also 2-year member of the Fighting Scots’ golf team and recorded the team’s lowest stroke average in both 1991 and 1992.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Monmouth in 1992 and went on to earn a master’s degree from Viterbo University of La Crosse, Wisc. in 1999.
He and his wife Christi have four children (Max, Maya, Morgan and Madison) ranging in age from 10-16.
“Our entire family is so excited to be Mavericks and be part of the Grand Junction community. I can’t wait to get to work,” DeGeorge said.