Rick Ray Agrees to Two-Year Contract Extension at SEMO

Southeast Missouri Head Men’s Basketball Coach Rick Ray agreed to a two-year contract extension through the 2020-21 season, Director of Athletics Brady Barke announced Tuesday.

In his second season a year ago, Ray led SEMO to a +10 increase in the win column as the Redhawks were the 23rd Most Improved Team in NCAA Division I Basketball. The Redhawks finished at 15-18 overall and second in the Ohio Valley Conference West Division with a 9-7 mark after going 5-24 and placing last in the OVC in 2015-16.

“When we hired Coach Ray, we knew it would take some time for him to rebuild the program to the level we desired at Southeast Missouri,” said Barke. “The progress the program has made in his first two years is evidence Rick is the right person to lead our program well into the future. I’m pleased with the progress on the court and the quality of student-athletes he is bringing to our institution and look forward to continuing to work with Rick for many years to come.”

SEMO made its 15th all-time OVC Tournament appearance with Ray winning the first game he coached at the event when the Redhawks overcame a 14-point deficit to beat Tennessee State in overtime.

Statistically, SEMO showed dramatic improvement from the previous season. The Redhawks ranked among the top-five in the OVC in several categories, including steals (1st, 7.7), assist/turnover ratio (5th, 1.1) and 3-point field goals made (5th, 8.0). SEMO made its biggest jump from the 2015-16 season to this past season in turnover margin (8th to 1st), 3-point field goal percentage (last to 2nd) and free throw percentage (last to 2nd). Nationally, SEMO went from 331st to 49th in free throw percentage and 336th to 59th in total 3-point field goals made, while making significant improvement in many other areas during the 2016-17 campaign.

“I am grateful to President Vargas, Brady, and the administration for demonstrating their belief in me and our program by extending my contract,” said Ray. “Our team cannot be successful without the full support of our administration and this becomes extremely important when it comes to recruiting future student-athletes to our university. I look forward to building on the success we experienced last season.”

Additionally, Ray coached a pair of All-OVC selections in guards Antonius Cleveland and Denzel Mahoney. Cleveland earned first-team honors, became the first SEMO player to make the national College Slam Dunk Championship and recently agreed to a deal with the Golden State Warriors. Mahoney was the league’s Freshman of the Year, a second-team pick and all-newcomer honoree. It was the first time the Redhawks had multiple All-OVC selections since 2013-14 (Tyler Stone, Jarekious Bradley).


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