IUPUI NAMES JASON GARDNER HEAD MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH
April 3, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
IUPUI SPORTS RELEASE
INDIANAPOLIS - The IUPUI Athletics Department and Director of Athletics Michael Moore have announced the hiring of Jason Gardner as the eighth head coach in the men's basketball program's history. Gardner, the 1999 winner of the Indiana Mr. Basketball Award, spent the past year on the University of Memphis bench and two seasons at Loyola prior to that.
"We had an incredibly deep and talent rich candidate pool," Moore said. "At the end of the day, all signs pointed to Jason. He's a known commodity in terms of his ability to recruit quality student-athletes. He's known as a tireless worker and has an incredible passion for teaching the game of basketball. His ties to Indianapolis made him even more attractive as a candidate and we look forward to him being the face of IUPUI basketball for many years to come."
"I'm looking forward to being back home and getting my first (head) coaching opportunity. I'm truly excited for the opportunity," Gardner said. "Other than playing basketball, I always knew I wanted to be a coach. It keeps you around the game of basketball and allows you the opportunity to help young men on and off the court. There are a lot of kids in the area that come from a winning heritage and we want to give them the chance to succeed within our program.
"This is a great situation for me and my family to be back in Indianapolis. I want to win and I want us to win the right way. That's the goal. More than anything, I'm just excited about getting started and moving forward."
This past season, Gardner helped Memphis to a 24-10 record as Shaq Goodwin and Joe Jackson earned All-Conference accolades. In addition, Memphis forward Austin Nichols was a unanimous selection to the American Athletics Conference All-Rookie Team after averaging 9.1 points and 4.2 boards per game. Gardner teamed with current Memphis Head Coach Josh Pastner as a player at Arizona.
Prior to coming to Memphis, Gardner was an assistant under Porter Moser at Loyola, helping the Ramblers to an eight-game improvement from 2011-12 to 2012-13. He coached Ben Averkamp to All-Horizon League accolades for two straight seasons, while Loyola point guard Cully Payne was a Bob Cousy Award nominee. He also helped recruit one of the top signing classes in the Horizon League prior to the 2012-13 season. Gardner's coaching career began in 2010 when he served as an assistant at nearby Cathedral High School.
Gardner's racked up numerous accolades during his prestigious high school, college and professional playing careers. He was a 1999 McDonald's and Parade All-American while at North Central High School, finishing his prep career with a school record 1,669 points. He was a two-time Gatorade Circle of Champions Indiana Player of the Year and was named the 1998-99 Indianapolis County Player of the Year by The Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis News. His senior season, he helped NCHS to the IHSAA 4A state championship and Tournament of Champions title while averaging 22.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game.
The 5-foot-10 point guard was recruited to the University of Arizona by legendary Head Coach Lute Olsen, where he was a four-year All-American for the Wildcats. He was the 2002-03 Naismith National Player of the Year and Lowe's Senior CLASS award recipient. He was the 2000 consensus National Freshman of the Year and closed his career as one of four players in Pac-12 history with 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals for a career. He helped lead Arizona to two Pac-12 regular season titles (2000, 2003) and four consecutive NCAA Tournament berths. The Wildcats made three Sweet Sixteens (2001, 2002, 2003), two Elite Eights (2001, 2003) and were the NCAA national runner-up in 2001. All total, Arizona won 107 games during Gardner's four seasons and he still holds school records for games started (135) and minutes played (4,825), while ranking third in school history with 1,984 career points. He also finished second in threes made (318) and fourth in assists (622). He earned his degree from the university in 2011 in disciplinary studies.
Gardner later played professionally overseas for more than eight years, primarily in Germany. In 2009, he was named MVP of German Basketball Bundesliga after helping Oldenburg to the league crown, averaging 13.7 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 boards per game. He was a two-time Basketball Bundesliga All-Star, including starting the 2007 game.
The university has scheduled a Wednesday, Apr. 2 press conference to formally introduce Gardner as the program's next basketball coach. The press conference is open to the public and will be held inside the IUPUI Campus Center (SW corner of Michigan and University Blvd.) at 10:30 a.m.. The program will include comments from both Moore and Gardner, followed by media availability immediately afterwards.