UMass names Figger Assistant Basketball Coach

University of Massachusetts basketball welcomes Matt Figger as assistant coach, head coach Frank Martin announced Tuesday. Figger spent ten seasons on Martin’s staff at Kansas State and South Carolina before head coaching stints at Austin Peay and UT Rio Grande Valley.  

“Like any business when you have success the people within your organization become attractive to others,” stated Frank Martin. “Brett Nelson got an opportunity to move to NC State and I was fortunate that Matt Figger who has been a head coach for the last seven seasons was available. He was my first hire as a head basketball coach in college and was with me for 10 years as an assistant coach. Matt brings an unbelievable amount of experience, connections and will continue to help us build our program.” 

Coming to Amherst with a wealth of head coaching experience, Figger spent the last three seasons at UT Rio Grande Valley after four seasons leading Austin Peay. The 2017-18 OVC Coach of The Year, Figger compiled a 76-51 (.598) record, including a 49-25 (.662) mark in OVC play with the Governors. Figger secured two consecutive 20-plus win seasons, recording double-digit conference wins in all four years at the helm in Clarksville, Tennessee.

“One thing about coming to UMass is it is a national brand,” said Figger. “You can go anywhere in America and say I represent UMass, it has a name in the college basketball world.” 

Engineering one of the NCAA’s largest defensive turnarounds, Figger became the first coach in program history to earn double-digit conference wins in his first two seasons. Under Figger’s tutelage, multiple players received All-OVC honors including two-time OVC Player of the Year and current NBA player Terry Taylor. Taylor recorded an NCAA-best 20 double-doubles in 2020-21 while also leading the NCAA in offensive rebounding at 5.15 per game. 

Serving on staff under Martin at both South Carolina and Kansas State, Figger helped Martin lead both programs to new heights. As associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, Figger helped Martin bring the Gamecocks to their first NCAA Tournament win since 1973 and to the program’s first-ever Sweet 16, Elite Eight, and Final Four appearances

“The biggest thing that excites me about this job is being reunited with Frank Martin,” said Figger. “We’ve known each other since he was a high school coach and I was a junior in the junior college ranks. I spent ten years as an assistant for him and we topped it off by going to a Final Four. Coach Martin and I think a lot alike, so coming here there is a great sense of familiarity for me. I am just excited to be a part of the family, it is a great time for me because I am back with family. I want to come in and continue to help build the family culture with coach martin and his staff.” 

From 2007-12 Figger worked as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Kansas State as part of Martin’s staff that secured at least 21 wins and finished fifth or better in the Big 12 all five seasons. A nationally recognized recruiter, Figger helped sign two McDonald’s All-Americans at Kansas State, including 2008 National Freshman and Player of the Year Michael Beasley. During his time in Manhattan, Kansas Figger helped develop five All-Americans including Beasley and Jacob Pullen. 

Prior to his time at Kansas State, Figger served a brief stint as the director of operations at Arkansas (April-June 2007), which followed five seasons as an assistant coach at South Alabama (2003-07).  

Figger also spent 10 years as an assistant coach in the junior college ranks, including stints at Wabash Valley (1993-94), Vincennes (1994-99) and Odessa College (2000-02). His teams won 20 or more games eight times, captured six region and four district titles and advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament four times.

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