Pacific names Wilson assistant basketball coach

The first staffing hire of the Dave Smart era was made Thursday with the hiring of Clay Wilson as Assistant Coach.

Wilson, a former Ivy League student-athlete at Princeton, served as Director of Player Development last season at Texas Tech on the same staff as Smart. They helped the Red Raiders advance to the NCAA Tournament and finish 23-11 overall and 11-7 in a loaded Big 12 Conference. It came after Texas Tech ended 16-16 overall and 5-13 in conference the year prior to their arrival.

“I am thrilled to work at University of the Pacific and be a part of Coach Smart’s staff,” Wilson said. “We are excited for the future of our basketball program and this distinguished University as a whole. I have no doubt that that our alums and fans will be proud of the high character student-athletes we recruit and enjoy the brand of basketball we play. We are working hard to ensure the success of our players and this program for many years to come.”

Wilson’s coaching background also includes stops at North Texas, Cornell, and as a varsity head coach in Oklahoma. It came after he played four seasons professionally overseas.

“Clay will be a very important part of our staff and he’s eager to come to Pacific and help build a championship culture that the fans and University will be proud of. Clay will play a vital role in both recruiting and developing our student-athletes and will be a great mentor for them. He works all hours of the day and I’m excited to continue working with him,” Smart said.

In his two seasons at North Texas, he helped the team win a school record 16 conference games and set the record for most wins in school’s history in back-to-back seasons. His time was highlighted by North Texas winning the 2023 NIT title after a 31-7 campaign, which followed a 25-7 record in 2021-22.

Wilson was instrumental in the development of All-League performers Tylor Perry, Thomas Bell, Rubin Jones, Aaron Scott, JJ Murray and more. Wilson was heavily involved with the offensive game plan and scouting of other opponents. Wilson was also an assistant coach for the inaugural North Texas TBT team ‘Bleed Green’.  

Before UNT, Wilson worked as an Assistant Coach at Cornell from 2018-21. He helped develop players who had accomplished career years, including All-Ivy guards Terrance McBride, Greg Dolan and Academic All-American and leading scorer Jimmy Boeheim. Wilson served as the recruiting coordinator, player development coach, scheduling coordinator, and data analytics coordinator while at Cornell. Wilson helped recruit a number All league players to Cornell including 2024 1st team All-Ivy guard Chris Manon and 2023 & 2024 All-Ivy guard Nazir Williams. These players helped produce the most wins since Cornell’s sweet 16 run in 2010 as well as Cornell’s first ever NIT appearance.

Prior to joining Cornell’s coaching staff, Wilson was a varsity head coach for the Green Country Defenders in Oklahoma. Wilson had five players that went on to play collegiate basketball after his one season at the helm. Wilson was also the co-founder, co-owner, and trainer for Elev8hoops in Oklahoma. He helped create one of the largest skill development programs in the region with more than 600 clients. He also co-founded the Clay Wilson and David Mason Skill Academy, instructing more than 400 campers and organizing logistics for eight separate camps. Wilson has trained dozens of players who have gone on to play professionally.

As a student-athlete at Princeton, Wilson helped lead the Tigers to 74 wins over his four seasons on the team. He served as Team Captain his senior year and earned the school’s Bob Rock Sixth Man of the Year in his final season. Wilson played on a pair of teams that advanced to the postseason in both 2012 and 2014. After graduating he played professional basketball in Germany, New Zealand, Estonia, and Latvia. 

A Tulsa, Oklahoma native, Wilson played at Lincoln Christian High School where he was named the Oklahoma Class 3A player of the year after averaging 27.8 points, six assists and six rebounds per game as a senior. Wilson finished his career as one of the top 100 scorers in the history of Oklahoma high school basketball. He graduated from Princeton in 2015 with a Sociology degree and went on to get his MBA in Sport Entertainment Management from North Texas in 2022.

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