Top Gamecocks assistant Matt Figger officially named head coach at Austin Peay
COLUMBIA — Matt Figger is an associate head coach no more.
The former South Carolina assistant on Monday was named head coach at Austin Peay, replacing Dave Loos, who retired after 27 years at the helm of the Ohio Valley Conference program.
A native of Jenkins, Ky., Figger followed head coach Frank Martin from Kansas State to South Carolina in 2012, and has served as Martin’s top assistant since 2013. He becomes the third former Martin assistant to become a head coach, joining Brad Underwood of Illinois and Mike Boynton of Oklahoma State.
Figger also worked as recruiting coordinator under Martin at South Carolina, which this season set a school record with 26 wins and reached the program’s first Final Four. USC’s NCAA Tournament run ended Saturday in a 77-73 loss to Gonzaga in the national semifinals.
Figger, a graduate of Eastern Kentucky, will be formally introduced in a press conference Thursday morning at Austin Peay. He will become the Governors’ 12th head coach.
“We were looking for someone who could bring an excitement and energy to our program, someone who is committed to a quality student-athlete experience, someone who would be involved in our campus and community, and someone that knew and had experience with successful programs,” athletic director Ryan Ivey said in a statement. “Coach Figger brings these characteristics and more, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic to have him leading our program.”
News of Austin Peay’s choice was first broken by the Clarksville (Tenn.) Leaf-Chronicle on Thursday, when the Gamecocks held their first practice in Glendale, Ariz. Figger said at the time he was focused solely on the USC team and its preparations for the Final Four.