A longtime Division I assistant and former prep school head coach was introduced Tuesday as Gannon University’s new men’s basketball coach.
Kelvin Jefferson, who has 24 years of coaching experience, was given the task of replacing John Reilly, the winningest coach in school history, who was dismissed on March 29 after 14 seasons on the job.
Jefferson spent the last three years as an assistant coach at Division I Old Dominion University, where he helped the Monarchs compile a 70-28 record. Jefferson also helped the Monarchs reach their first NCAA tournament since 2011.
Jefferson said he was honored to join the Gannon “family.”
“Gannon offers an excellent opportunity to lead a basketball program that has a history of success at a university that is dedicated to service and faith,” said Jefferson.
“I keep using the word ‘excited,’ but that’s the word that fits the most. This is a great opportunity. I’m so happy to be here and I can’t wait to get started.”
Jefferson thanked university President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., Athletic Director Lisa Goddard McGuirk and Brian Nichols, vice president of Student Development and Engagement, “for this opportunity and their trust.”
McGuirk said she and her colleagues are excited to bring Jefferson aboard.
“We had a tremendous pool of very talented candidates, and Kelvin’s depth of experience, and his approach and commitment to what we value at Gannon, really exemplifies everything that we were looking for in our next head men’s basketball coach,” she said.
Prior to his last stop as a Division I assistant, Jefferson coached for eight seasons at the South Kent School in Connecticut, where he led the highly regarded prep program to a record of 131-76. He coached six future NBA players, and 50 of his players ultimately signed letters of intent to play for Division I schools.
“We are looking forward to an exciting year of men’s basketball under Kelvin’s leadership, in which our tradition of excellence both on and off the court will continue,” said McGuirk.
Jefferson said he comes from a defensive background and vowed that Gannon fans would see a team that puts a great deal of emphasis on defense. But he said that emphasis would not take away from the Knights’ offense.
“I want to give my guys a lot of freedom offensively to run,” he said later. “The last thing I want them to do is have to look over their shoulder while they’re playing.”
Prior to moving to South Kent, Jefferson worked as an assistant coach at four different Division I schools over a nine-year stretch – Colgate, Stony Brook, Old Dominion and Vermont. Before that he worked as an assistant at three Division III schools.
Reilly led the Knights to a 242-162 record during his 14 seasons at Gannon. During his reign, Gannon won a regular-season Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference title and a PSAC Tournament title, and he received several coach of the year awards.
Reilly’s teams posted six 20-win seasons, including a 30-win season in 2008-09.
His final team compiled an overall record of 11-18 and a 9-12 mark in PSAC play.