Matt McMahon brings solid resume to LSU – Crescent City Sports
I, perhaps like most, thought the process to complete the LSU Basketball Head Coach Decision would take longer than it has been.
Sporting director Scott Woodward acted quickly, snagging 43-year-old Matt McMahon.
Compiling an impressive resume to date, McMahon has won 70% of his games and taken his teams to three NCAA Tournaments. He will be well paid at Baton Rouge, thanks to a seven-year contract worth $2.6 million per season that could add another season if LSU is hit with sanctions.
Other contract details of note include a $100,000 escalation clause and a buyout set at 80% of his contract at any given time. McMahon will also receive a $400,000 lump sum if/when his contract ends. He earned $500,000 last season at Murray State.
The Oak Ridge, Tenn. native took a leap of faith, understanding the challenge with current players and rookies retiring from the program. Some new transfers and recruits will need to be grown and nurtured, hopefully a bountiful harvest in due course.
McMahon worked on his craft as a player, excellent shooter and tough competitor at Appalachian State. His wife Mary was a former star of Furman’s women’s basketball team.
Fresh off a season where he was named Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year, McMahon had his Murray State Racers on a 21-game winning streak, good for the longest in college basketball. this season. His Murray teams average 22 wins per season. McMahon holds his players to account on and off the field, and the results have been remarkable.
Murray State averaged 79 points per game and gave up 63.2 points, the OVC’s top two. His teams ranked atop the conference in defensive field goal percentage. The Racers also paced the OVC by defending the 3-point shot.
McMahon is very thorough and meticulous when it comes to technique. Its teams are well prepared. We know the challenge ahead with the expected sanctions will make LSU’s job stiffer. Will McMahon bring some of his Murray State staff with him?
Tim Kaine, also from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is in his seventh campaign at Murray State. Prior to that, he attended Georgia Southern, Florida Atlantic, Winthrop, Newberry College, Guilford College, and Austin Peay (as a graduate). Coaching is in his blood, and none other than legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is his godfather.
Casey Long, now through five seasons at Murray State, served on staff with Will Wade at VCU. He was a guard at Chattanooga and finished his career with over 1,000 points, 450 rebounds and 350 assists. He was born in Leesville, Louisiana. His character, energy and work ethic are Long’s greatest attributes.
Marcus Brown, 47, is an interesting subject. He played at Murray State from 1992 to 1996 and was twice named Ohio Valley Player of the Year. Drafted by the Portland Trailblazers, he played 14 seasons in the Euro League. Brown previously served as an assistant at Gardner-Webb where he helped the Bulldogs reach their first NCCA Tournament appearance. Does he stay “home” or head south if called?
Ronrico White, who also played in Chattanooga, has been hailed as a coach for his hard work, commitment and loyalty. White has been an excellent scout who also thrives in player development.
It’s no wonder a coach with McMahon’s level of success can boast such a great staff.
My guess is that current LSU assistant Tasmin Mitchell might be offered a chance to stay on the staff. The 35-year-old Baton Rouge native was the 2005 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year and named Mr. Louisiana basketball senior in Denham Springs. His 1,989 career points at LSU rank third in school history behind Pete Maravich and Rudy Macklin. Mitchell knows the recruiting scene in the state and has the potential to provide a bridge for any current roster players who are considering staying or leaving.
As for the players currently at Murray State, more than one could end up transferring with McMahon. Damaree “DJ” Burns, a 6-7 sophomore who prepped for Sophie B. Wright in New Orleans, where he was a two-time 3A All State and USA Today 1st Team All State, is the one with ties to Louisiana. He spent one season at Southern University and finished that season as the Racers’ fifth-leading scorer with 5.8 points per game while adding 6.3 boards.
The ultimate goal in college basketball is to reach the Final Four and cut the nets at the end. It will come down to the relationships Matt McMahon and his new coaching staff have with rookies and his players. Expectations at this level are highest, and regardless of NCAA penalties, McMahon has tough shoes to fill in replacing Wade.
However, one of the benefits the new boss can expect is enough time to maximize their end result.