Amherst College men’s basketball head coach David Hixon ’75 will be taking a leave from the program during the 2019-20 season, announced by Amherst College Director of Athletics Don Faulstick.
Aaron Toomey ’14, in his fifth year as an assistant coach, will serve as interim head coach, effective immediately.
“Aaron has a strong understanding of what is expected from an Amherst College basketball team, both from his time as a player and an assistant under David,” said Faulstick. “His shift to interim head coach will ensure a smooth transition for the players and the program this season.”
“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to be the Interim Coach this season,” said Toomey “I am incredibly thankful for those who supported me and trusted me to take over this team. We have an incredible group of guys and I can’t wait to get to work with them on November 1st.”
Toomey played for Coach Hixon from 2010-14 and finished his career as the most prolific scorer in Amherst College history. He is the only player to score more than 2,000 career points (2,033) and also holds the school records for career three-pointers made (291) and free-throws made (606).
The 2013 NABC National Player of the Year from the national champion Amherst team, Toomey is a three-time New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) First Team All-Conference and three-time NABC and D3Hoops.com First Team All-Region selection.
After a brief professional career in Europe, Toomey returned to Amherst and joined Hixon’s coaching staff midway through the 2014-15 season. He worked his way into the top assistant spot and last year coached the Mammoths to a victory over Williams College when Coach Hixon was away from the team after the death of his mother.
Last year, Toomey was named to the NABC Under Armour 30-Under-30 Team, representing 30 of the most outstanding men’s college basketball coaches under the age of 30.
“I’d specifically like to thank Coach Hixon for everything he has taught me throughout the past 9 years here at Amherst,” added Toomey. “I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. He will certainly be missed this year, but I am extremely excited about what our staff can do with this group of guys.”
Hixon led Amherst to two NCAA national championships (2007, 2013) and is a two-time National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National and four-time NABC Northeast Region Coach of the Year.
Taking up the reins of the program in 1977, Hixon has won 826 games over his 42-year career, and last year passed Bill Thurston as the winningest coach with a single program in Amherst College history. He is just the third Division III coach to reach the 800-win plateau.
“Having dedicated the last 42 uninterrupted years to Amherst College basketball, Coach Hixon will use this break to spend time with his father and reconnect with former players still involved in all levels of the game,” said Faulstick. “David’s commitment to family has been consistently reflected in the way he leads his teams, and we are happy he will have this opportunity.”