After seven seasons at Wisconsin working for head coaches Bo Ryan and Gard, assistant coach Lamont Paris has accepted the vacant head coach job at Chattanooga
"We are fortunate to get an elite-level person and coach in Lamont," Chattanooga director of athletics David Blackburn said. "It was a fast, thorough process. It was important to get someone before the signing period starts on April 12. This was not a hasty decision, rather it was a decisive one. Our staff has followed Lamont's progression over the last several years. We are excited he has chosen to join us."
Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook editor Chris Dortch first reported the news while Scout's Evan Daniels reported that the length of the deal is six seasons. Paris was here at the Final Four and reportedly interviewed for both the vacant Chattanooga and Akron coaching possessions, the latter a place where he was an assistant for six years before joining Wisconsin. Paris was a finalist for the Chattanooga job in 2015 that went to Matt McCall, who took the head coaching position at UMass Wednesday.
"I'm excited for this new chapter of my career, but I am so thankful and grateful for the opportunity I had at the University of Wisconsin," Paris said in a statement. "The city of Madison, the people, the players and staff of the Badgers' program and the University are all very special to me and will be a place that I will always think of as home."
It marks the second straight season Gard has needed to hire a new assistant coach. He hired former Wisconsin forward Joe Krabbenhoft from South Dakota State after Gary Close departed the program last offseason.
"We are all very proud and excited for Lamont as he begins this new opportunity," Gard said in a statement. "I have no doubt he'll make a terrific head coach, and this is a tremendous hire for Chattanooga. On a personal level, it's bittersweet to see one of your best friends move away, but I'm so happy for and proud of him. He's more than paid his dues and climbed the professional ladder the right way.
"I will always be grateful to Lamont for everything he did in seven years for this program, particularly over the past two seasons helping me in my transition to head coach. I'm looking forward to following his career closely and we'll be sure to stay in close contact. The Mocs are undoubtedly in good hands."
A 20-year coaching veteran, Paris, 43, was hired from Akron to replace current Wisconsin assistant Howard Moore when Moore left to take the head coaching job at Illinois-Chicago. In seven seasons as a Wisconsin assistant, the Badgers averaged 27 wins per season and advanced to the N.C.A.A. tournament each season and the Sweet 16 six times.
UW’s associate head coach last season, putting him in charge of the staff’s recruiting and offseason camps, Paris helped the Badgers land Nigel Hayes out of Toledo. Hayes played in 150 straight games and finished his career with 1,857 points (third all-time at UW), 802 rebounds (sixth) and 319 assists (seventh).
Chattanooga went 19-12 this season under the leadership of Paris will lose Chattanooga’s three leading scorers from last season from graduation.