Gee To Head LU Men's Hoops Program

Published 4:19 pm Thursday, April 4, 2013

FARMVILLE – Cleveland State associate head coach Jayson Gee has been named the eighth men's basketball head coach at Longwood University.

The school, which has been without a head coach since former ten-year coach Mike Gillian resigned last month, confirmed the hiring in a release on Wednesday.

Gee, who is attending the National Basketball Coaches Association Convention at the Final Four this week, will be formally introduced to campus on Wednesday, April 10 at 11 a.m. in Willett Hall.

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“I am excited that the powers that be at Longwood felt that highly about me,” said Gee, who has been at Cleveland State for seven seasons. “Upon my visit, I felt extremely excited about them, and who they were and what they were about.”

“Jasyon stood out above the rest of the group,” said LU athletics director Troy Austin. “He has experiences unique to him, and has been successful at a lot of institutions that Longwood either looks like or aspires to be in terms of competition. In addition to him being a tremendous coach, I think his fit for the town, the institution and his ability to be successful did raise him slightly above the rest of the group.”

In his seven seasons at CSU, Gee helped the Vikings reach the postseason four times (three NIT bids and an NCAA Tournament appearance).

While at Cleveland State, Gee helped recruit and coach Norris Cole, the 2011 Horizon League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. He was a first round NBA draft selection and is a member of the defending World Champion Miami Heat.

“I'm really happy for him. He's a family man. He values family,” said Cole. “I know his background. He's tough, he's willing to put in the work to achieve success.

“I remember when he came on a visit, and he told me that if I was willing to put the time in and work hard, I could be a special player. He taught me there is no magic solution. The secret is hard work and being patient. That's what he's going to teach his players. If you put in the time, have integrity and do the right thing, you're going to have a good program, and he believes that.”

Prior to arriving at Cleveland State, Gee, 47, served as the associate head coach at St. Bonaventure (2003-06). He was the head coach at his alma mater the University of Charleston (WV) from 1996-2003. At UC, Gee posted a 160-55 record, had six 20-plus win seasons, five West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Finals appearances and four NCAA Division II Tournament bids. He has also been an assistant at Youngstown State and Ohio University.

Longwood finished sixth in the Big South's North Division in 2012-13 – the Lancers' first in the league – compiling an 8-25 overall record and a conference mark of 4-12. The team advanced to the Big South Tournament Quarterfinals with an 87-72 win against two-time defending Big South Champion UNC Asheville before falling to VMI, 90-86.

One of the challenges Gee will obviously face is how to get Longwood from the bottom of the standings to the top. A challenge that will be met with a lot of energy.

“He has a very engaging personality and you can feel just how passionate he is,” said Austin. “The first time I spoke to him on the phone, I felt I had dealt with a full court press for 20 minutes.”

Gee has a three-pronged vision for the program he's titled “The Process”, which is also his version of “the three R's”.

“The first is 'relevence'. People have to know who we are,” said Gee. “I think Winthrop did that this year. They beat some teams where they established relevency. The second stage is 'respected' where people start to fear how you play and how tough you're going to play them. Thirdly, is the 'highly-regarded' stage, and that's where you start to compete for championships and you're in the top of the preseason rankings. We've got to go through those stages at Longwood, and it's a challenge, but it's something that's got to play out.”

Gee's intensity and passion spills over to the court – especially on defense.

“When our opponents pull up to campus on the bus, we're going to pressure them at the door and guard them to the locker room,” said Gee. “We'll give them a little break and let them go in and change, but once they get out, we'll start to pressure them again.”

For Gee that all starts with building a strong foundation.

“It's going to take some time. The first year, we want to be competitive, and we want to reach that highly-regarded stage as quickly as we can, but we can't get ahead of ourselves. We won't take short cuts, and we won't sacrifice tomorrow to enjoy short-term success today.”