MACON, Ga. – Greg Gary, who has helped guide Purdue to three consecutive Sweet 16 appearances, has been named the 27th men’s basketball head coach at Mercer University, Director of Athletics Jim Cole announced Tuesday.
A veteran assistant coach with over 25 years at the NCAA Division I level, Gary has spent the last eight seasons working under Matt Painter at Purdue University. A press conference announcing Gary’s official arrival will be held at a later date following the conclusion of the 2018-19 Purdue men’s basketball campaign.
“When we set out to look for a new head coach, we recognized Greg early in the process as someone we were confident in leading our men’s basketball program,” Cole said. “Greg not only stood out for his proven background and style of play, but for the role he has played as a mentor to student-athletes throughout his career as well as his commitment to growing them into leaders off the court. We’re so happy for Greg, his wife, Claudia, and his children – Gabrielle, Logan, Alexandra, Brooklyn and Nash – to be joining our Mercer Family.”
“This is such an incredible opportunity and I am both grateful and honored to have been selected as the head men’s basketball coach at Mercer University,” Gary said. “My family and I could not be more thrilled to have joined the Mercer basketball family and we look forward to joining the Macon community. I’d like to thank President Underwood, Jim Cole and Sybil Blalock for their confidence in me to move this program forward and I appreciate their vision and look forward to seeing our young men succeed in both the classroom and on the court.”
Gary has made 13 postseason appearances as a college assistant and player, reaching the NCAA tournament 10 times. Gary was instrumental in helping Purdue reach its third straight NCAA tournament Sweet 16 appearance this season; the third-seeded Boilermakers will face No. 2 Tennessee on Thursday in Louisville, Ky.
His on-court focus for the Boilermakers centered on the development of their wing and post players. Calling Purdue’s offensive sets, Gary helped Purdue lead the Big Ten Conference in scoring in two of the last three seasons with the nation’s second-most efficient offense. The Boilermakers led the Big Ten in 3-pointers made (336) this season and led the conference in 3-point percentage and free-throw percentage while ranking second nationally in assists per game during the 2016-17 season.
Gary came to Purdue from two stints at Duquesne, where he spent the 2007-08 and 2010-11 seasons as an assistant coach, sandwiched around two seasons as head coach at Centenary. Gary resigned from his post at Centenary after the school announced in July 2009 that it would seek reclassification as an NCAA Division III member.
Prior to arriving at Duquesne, Gary spent three seasons (2004-05 through 2006-07) as an assistant coach at South Florida, helping the Bulls transition from Conference USA to the Big East.
Gary served as an assistant coach under Perry Clark at Miami from 2000-04, helping lead the Hurricanes to the NIT in 2001 and the NCAA tournament in 2002.
Gary spent six of his first seven years in the coaching industry at Tulane, helping guide his alma mater to the NCAA tournament in 1995 and the NIT on four occasions. In his second stint with the Green Wave, he also served as the team’s recruiting coordinator and oversaw the players’ academic responsibilities.
Gary served as an assistant coach at McNeese State for the 1997-98 campaign. After graduating from Anderson Highland High School in Indiana in 1988 and spending a year at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, Gary transferred to Tulane. He was a vital component in the revitalization of a program that was dropped in 1985 and reinstated in 1988, leading the Green Wave to the 1992 NCAA tournament as a senior.
Despite playing only three seasons in New Orleans, Gary finished his career as Tulane’s all-time leader in assists and now ranks fifth (370). He is second in career assist-to-turnover ratio (1.97).
A native of Anderson, Indiana, Gary was born on Feb. 14, 1970. Gary earned a B.S. in sport management from Tulane in 1992. He and his wife, Claudia, have four daughters, Gabrielle, Logan, Alexandra and Brooklyn, and one son, Nash.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT GARY
“Mercer is getting a very good person and coach in Greg Gary. Coach Gary has been a big part of our success over the last eight years. He is an excellent teacher of the game and will bring the right student-athletes to enable Mercer to be successful on and off the court.” – Matt Painter, Purdue head coach
“I’ve been very impressed with Greg throughout his tenure at Purdue. With great respect I’ve had for Gene Keady all the way to Matt Painter, I know that when you come out of Purdue, you come out of a class place. Greg has been very instrumental not only in recruiting, but if you look at what he’s done this year after losing four starters, I think he’ll do an incredible job at Mercer. I think it’ll be a match made in heaven. Greg knows how to work and he’s going to do it the right way, which is important in today’s day and age. I think Greg will have great success. I know he’ll have a fan at Michigan State.” – Tom Izzo, Michigan State head coach
“Greg will be terrific at Mercer. Home run! All he knows is winning, from his time as a player through different levels and different roles as a coach.” – Mike White, Florida head coach
“Greg Gary is an outstanding and experienced basketball coach who will provide strong leadership and direction at Mercer. He understands what it takes to build a successful program and I look forward to watching his teams in the seasons ahead.” – Mike Bobinski, Purdue athletics director
GARY AT A GLANCE
Birthdate: Feb. 14, 1970
Birthplace: Anderson, Ind.
High School: Anderson Highland, 1988
College: Tulane, 1992 (B.S., sport management)
Daughters: Gabrielle, Logan, Alexandra and Brooklyn
1988: Aquinas College (Nashville, Tenn.)
1989-92: Tulane (New Orleans, La.)
1993-97: Tulane (asst.)
1997-98: McNeese State (asst.)
1998-00: Tulane (asst.)
2000-04: Miami (Fla.) (asst.)
2004-07: South Florida (asst.)
2007-08: Duquesne (asst.)
2008-10: Centenary (head coach)
2010-11: Duquesne (asst.)
2011-19: Purdue (asst.)