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George Mason hires Tennessee assistant Kim English to take over basketball program

George MasonThe new George Mason basketball coach, Kim English, is getting praise from across the college hoops landscape as a home-run hire.

English, 32, replaces Dave Paulsen, who was let go last week after his teams posted a 95-91 record in his five seasons in Fairfax, including a 13-9 mark in 2020-2021.

Mason hasn’t been to an NCAA Tournament since the 2010-2011 season under former coach Jim Larranaga, who went 273-164 in 14 seasons at the school, most memorably leading the Patriots to an improbably Final Four appearance in 2006.

Paul Hewitt went 24-9 in 2011-2012 after Larranaga left Mason for Miami, but the Patriots were bounced from the CAA Tournament in the semifinals and didn’t get an NCAA bid.

Hewitt’s tenure would only run four seasons with a 66-67 record, including a 9-22 mark in 2014-2015 that got him bounced.

All of this saying, George Mason is a program with history, potential – but it’s been awhile.

“I am so incredibly grateful and honored to accept the position of head coach at George Mason University,” English said. “I would like to thank President Dr. Gregory Washington, Director of Athletics Brad Edwards and the entire search committee for their time and effort through this entire process.

“I really enjoyed everyone’s ‘Why George Mason?’ stories. It reaffirmed what I already knew – that the leadership at Mason is in great alignment and the commitment to our students and student-athletes is at the forefront of everyone’s ‘Why.’ The passion that the Mason Family has for this place is something of which I’m so excited to be a part,” English said.

English has worked for some of college basketball’s top coaches – Rick Barnes at Tennessee, Tad Boyle at Colorado and Frank Haith at Tulsa.

“Kim English is a rising star in the college basketball world,” Edwards said. “He is a tremendous communicator, tireless worker and a natural leader. He develops a unique rapport with his players, which fuels their development and enriches their overall experience as student-athletes.

“His success at the highest levels of the game, elite recruiting ability and knowledge of the DMV area will provide our program with an outstanding foundation to establish a standard of competitive excellence in the Atlantic 10 and at the national level,” Edwards said.

“George Mason basketball holds a rich tradition and has produced so many iconic moments in our university’s history,” George Mason University President Dr. Gregory Washington said. “We are excited today to welcome Kim English, the dynamic new leader of our men’s basketball program. Kim will be an outstanding ambassador for our University. He possesses the desire and understanding of what is needed to elevate George Mason basketball back to national prominence.”

English’s former bosses have nothing but praise for him.

“Kim English is a grand slam hire for George Mason. He’s the total package,” Barnes said. “From the day he joined our staff at Tennessee, he made an immediate impact on our program. He has a unique gift for connecting with people and forming genuine relationships.

“I’m particularly proud that he gets the opportunity to begin his head coaching career at the special place that also gave me my first big opportunity. I know he’ll lead the Patriots to great success,” Barnes said.

“Simply put, Kim English is the complete package as a Division I basketball coach,” Boyle said. “He can recruit, he can teach and he can motivate. He is fantastic at player development. He relates well with his players, fellow coaches and alumni. By the way, he can flat out coach. George Mason did not make a home run hire – they hit a grand slam.”

For the record, that’s two grand slams, one total package, one complete package.

“George Mason is getting a star in Kim English,” Haith said. “I had the opportunity to coach Kim at Mizzou his senior year where he lead us to 30 wins and a Big 12 championship. He was an awesome teammate and a tremendous leader. While Kim was playing professionally, he would watch our games at Mizzou and Tulsa and send me scouting reports of our next opponent.

“I was so impressed with his passion at the time that when he was finished playing, I hired him right away. His impact was instant. He will be special for George Mason,” Haith said.

A four-year letterman under coaches Mike Anderson and Haith at Missouri from 2008-2012, English scored more than 1,500 points and averaged 11.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game for the Tigers.

He earned third-team All-Big 12 honors in 2010 and 2012, and Missouri won 107 games during his four-year career, making him and two teammates the winningest players in program history.

The Tigers won a school-record 31 games while making a run to the 2009 Elite Eight in English’s freshman campaign.

English averaged a career-best 14.5 points as a senior in 2011-2012 and ranked fifth in the Big 12 with 78 three-point makes, while leading Missouri to 30 wins, one of two Big 12 Tournament titles during his career and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 Big 12 Tournament after averaging 23.0 points and shooting 78 percent during the Tigers’ championship run.

The Pistons selected English with the 44th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and he appeared in 41 games during the 2012-2013 season.

He then spent two years playing professionally overseas and had a brief stint with the Chicago Bulls in 2014.

“I’m excited to get to know our former players, athletic staff, faculty, alumni and all of Mason Nation,” English said. “I also am delighted for everyone to meet my two daughters, Celine and Ari, my parents and the rest of my family just up the road in Baltimore.

“I’m especially looking forward to meeting and forming bonds with our current and incoming student-athletes. I can’t wait to get on the court with you and get started. The work has already begun to assert George Mason Basketball’s rightful place in the national landscape, consistently competing for Atlantic 10 championships and securing bids into the NCAA Tournament.”

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press