Nick McDevitt, the new head basketball coach at UNC Asheville, is excited to begin his job. He was introduced to a standing-room-only crowd Friday afternoon on campus, but really needed no introduction. A large contingent of family, friends, staff and Bulldog supporters welcomed him with a standing ovation…not once, but twice.
UNC Asheville Director of Athletics Janet R. Cone made the official announcement. “We are delighted to introduce Nick McDevitt as our new head basketball coach,” stated Cone. “In the nine years I’ve worked with Nick, he has always conducted himself as a champion and a leader.
“Nick has earned this opportunity. While guiding our program this past month, he distinguished himself as the leading candidate during the search process,” added Cone. “Nick is the perfect person to continue not only our winning tradition that we have established at UNC Asheville but also to provide us with a vision and a plan for greater levels of achievement in the future.”
“This is an especially proud moment for UNC Asheville to name Nick McDevitt, a lifetime Bulldog, as our new head coach. As a four-year player who maintained a place on the Dean’s List while majoring in history, Nick has embodied how to do Division I athletics the right way,” stated UNC Asheville Chancellor Anne Ponder. “It is a testament to Nick’s work ethic and basketball IQ that he is now ready to carry on the UNC Asheville tradition of excellence. Nick is the best person to build on UNC Asheville’s momentum, and to give our young, exciting Bulldog team the leadership they need to be successful on and off the court.”
“I want to thank Janet Cone, Chancellor Ponder and the Board of Trustees for the opportunity to continue my journey in coaching at such a wonderful place,” stated McDevitt. “UNC Asheville has a rich basketball tradition. We have been fortunate to enjoy the Eddie Biedenbach era, and I believe that we are poised to do even better greater things. I’m excited about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
McDevitt, humbled and excited to be the new face of Asheville basketball is no stranger to the community. He has spent half his life on the pastoral campus in North Asheville. First, as a four-year player then 12 years as an assistant coach, the last two as the associate head coach, all under former coach Eddie Biedenbach’s mentoring.
The new coach told the audience that his family has been a part of the college for over 50 years, going back to when his grandfather installed plumbing at Founders Hall. His parents went to UNC Asheville, as did his sister. McDevitt took “Super Saturday” classes on campus as a youngster, and attended basketball camps there. He kidded associate athletics director, Mike Gore, who served as his camp coach, saying they would not be teaching layups the way Gore did.
McDevitt takes over a program that represented the Big South Conference in the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and 2012, but fell short last year. His goal is to get back there. The returning players will be bolstered by the addition of two new guards. And his team will be ready for the challenge. Returning star, Keith Hornsby, is very excited to have McDevitt as his new coach. “Can’t wait to get started,” Hornsby said.
His mentor, Eddie Biedenbach said, “Nick is very deserving of this opportunity. I am very happy for him and know he’ll do a great job. Nick was an exemplary player and coach for our program and a key reason for our success.”
And even outside the Bulldog family, other head coaches are taking note. Brad Brownell, Clemson’s head coach said, “This is a great hire by UNC Asheville. Nick knows every aspect of the program as he was terrific player and coach for Asheville. He’s a bright, young coach who knows what to look for in recruits that fit in at Asheville. It will be a smooth transition for him as head coach and I am confident he’ll continue the winning tradition that Asheville has established.”
Marcus Neeley, another returning player said, “Coach McDevitt is a great leader and he’s going to take us to the next level. I know he’s ready to be a head coach. We all have a great relationship with him and can’t wait to start playing for him.”
Last summer, he was named to Asheville’s inaugural “Forty Under 40” class by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. Nick was recognized for making a mark in the Asheville area in professional achievements and commitment to excellence.
McDevitt and two of his assistants are on the road – recruiting – for the next several days. Brett Carey and Kevin Easley appeared to be very happy the way things turned out. McDevitt said loyalty is the most important thing when you are in business or on a team, and both Carey and Easley are on-board. Madison Davis also will be continuing in his role as an assistant coach and director of basketball operations.