Creighton basketball took another step towards the BIG EAST on Monday by announcing a pair of changes within Greg McDermott's coaching staff.
The addition of Patrick Sellers as an assistant coach gives the Bluejays a coach with ties to their new conference the program didn't have before. Sellers has six years of experience in the BIG EAST, while serving under Jim Calhoun at Connecticut. In his role as one of the Huskies' lead recruiters, Sellers helped bring numerous members of the 2011 National Championship team to Hartford.
It wasn't all roses for Sellers at UCONN, however. He was not on the bench for that championship season. Sellers resigned in May of 2010 amid allegations that he misled NCAA investigators who were looking into UConn's practices. Although he resigned from his position, Sellers maintained his innocence. The following year, while he was coaching a professional team in China, the NCAA cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Sellers returned to the collegiate ranks in 2011, when he accepted a job at Hofstra. Mo Cassara, the Hofstra coach, was fired in March of this year. Sellers was named the Pride's interim head coach after two years at the school, but Hofstra eventually hired Joe Mihalich for the job. Sellers will now work in a part of the country that is new to him.
"I've been an East Coast guy most of my college coaching career, but I'm very excited to get out to the Midwest," said Sellers in a statement released by the university's athletic department. "I went out there a couple weeks back and was blown away. The facilities and fan support were unbelievable. It's a very exciting to be a part of a program like that. Coach McDermott is a great coach and I look forward to working with him and his staff."
Coach McDermott expanded on the benefits of bringing Sellers on board.
"If we were able to attract someone that had experience in the BIG EAST, that was a positive. With Patrick, I feel like we found both. Having coached at UConn for six years, he understands what it's going to take to be successful in the BIG EAST and has scouted many of those programs in the past. Everyone I talked to about him raved about what a quality person he is, and I'm confident that his recruiting contacts on the East Coast and nationally will have a positive impact on our program," said McDermott.
Steve Merfeld will take his 27 years of coaching experience into the new role of Director of Player Development. The move allows Sellers to join coaches Steve Lutz and Darian DeVries as CU's three assistant coaches allowed to recruit prospects. Merfeld has embraced his changing role on the staff.
"I was approached about this possibility a month ago, and certainly will always have what is in the best interest of the Creighton Basketball program as the driving force behind every professional decision that I make," said Merfeld. "We have great challenges ahead as we move forward into the Big East Conference. The opportunity to assist and be involved in the day-to-day operation and decision-making process is extremely appealing to me."
McDermott feels like the moves have given him some help atop the coaching pyramid.
"For us it will be like having two head coaches on staff. He'll be involved with every decision that's made in the program, and we'll use his experience to help put together a plan for players to develop from a fundamental, social and academic standpoint. Steve and I had a conversation that this was necessary for our program to move forward in the BIG EAST, and he was 100% on board with the change," said McDermott.
Creighton Announces Coaching Changes
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