Published 3:51 pm Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Longwood University Athletics Department announced on Thursday morning just before press time that tenth-year head men's basketball coach Mike Gillian had resigned his position with the program on Wednesday, March 13.

Gillian compiled an overall record of 93-214, including an 8-25 mark this past season. The team was 4-12 in its first season in the Big South Conference.

“Mike has played an important role in the history of Longwood Athletics,” said LU Director of Athletics Troy Austin in a press release issued by the school. “I want to thank him for his service to the university, the effort he invested in the men's basketball program and his active involvement with community initiatives. I wish the best to Mike and his family in their future endeavors.”

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Austin said he was unable to comment further in a follow-up conversation with The Herald.

“It's a personnel matter, and I know there are a lot of questions, and I hate when I hear these types of things, but the release has pretty much all I can say.”

According to a contract Gillian signed, just after the 2008-09 season, he has one year remaining. No details were released in regards to what he may still be owed.

Gillian signed the contract after the Lancers completed a 17-14 campaign – their most successful during the Division I era – that included victories over George Washington University and James Madison.

“I'm very proud of what I've accomplished at Longwood,” said Gillian. “When I got started, there was nothing. It was 2003, not even a Division I program yet, and I was entrusted to build a successful Division I program. Over time I think we've accomplished those things.

“To fast forward through the whole time period, I'm very proud of this year's team. The way they handled themselves, the way they continued to believe in each other. We were not winning during the early part of the season. That's a fact. But the facts also say that we won four of our last six games, and we beat North Carolina-Asheville in the Tournament.

“To me, there's some success there, and I'm very proud of what those guys accomplished for themselves, and as a representation of the whole time I've been at Longwood. I have nothing but pride in the players and coaches and appreciation for what they've done for me over that time. I'm proud of what we've been able to put together to get Longwood to where we did.”

Following a slow start to the 2012-13 season, the team, comprised of only one senior – Steven Shockley, a lightly-used former walk-on, two juniors, TT Carey and David Robinson, and four freshman starters, Nik Brown, Lucas Woodhouse, Michael Kessens and Karl Zeigler, the Lancers finished with a 5-4 record over its final nine games, including a 5-3 mark against Big South competition.

The Lancers defeated two-time defending Big South champion UNC-Asheville 87-72 in the first round of the BSC Tournament last week, before falling to North Division runner-up VMI 90-86 in the tournament quarterfinals.

Gillian is understandably unsure of what lies ahead, but he doesn't want to leave basketball behind.

“I don't know right now,” said Gillian. “But I know what I love to do. I love the game. I love being around the team. To me there's nothing better to see a group that works together and is able to overcome to have some positive things happen for them. I've been really fortunate, and I have a lot of great relationships in basketball. I will take some time to look at things and figure out what happens next, but I will take these experiences I've had at Longwood, and use them to progress and be better in my next opportunity.”