PC will look for a new men's hoops coach
PC’s Dustin Kerns Named Head Coach at Appalachian State
Dustin Kerns, who just completed his second season as head men’s basketball coach at Presbyterian College, has accepted the same position at Appalachian State, it was announced Thursday afternoon by the Mountaineers. The 18th coach in PC men’s basketball history Kerns becomes App State’s 22nd.
A national search for PC’s next head coach will begin immediately.
“I’ll be forever grateful and indebted to Presbyterian College, the community and alumni,” said Kerns. “ I feel like the program has made great strides in the past two years, but that the best is still yet to come. I want to personally thank President Bob Staton for giving me and my family this opportunity and to Danny Sterling and his staff for their continued support. The time at PC is now and this place has an exciting future. There won’t be a bigger fan cheering on the Blue Hose than me. Go Blue Hose!”
Kerns took a team that won five games the year before he was hired to a team that recorded its most wins in Division I history. The 20 wins were the most since 2011-12 when the Blue Hose finished with 14. PC’s nine conference wins tied for the most in Division I, while the 12 home wins eclipsed the old DI mark of nine.
“Coach Kerns did an outstanding job as head coach while at PC,” said PC Director of Athletics Danny Sterling. “In just a short time, he represented PC with excellence in every way, and we will always be indebted to him for what he has been able to accomplish here. He laid an impressive and solid foundation for a strong future and we wish him only the best at Appalachian State.”
“We’re excited for the future of Presbyterian College men's basketball as we have an outstanding group of young men coming off a tremendous and historic season and who are already preparing for what should be another great year.”
The Blue Hose played in their first Division I postseason tournament this season, taking part in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Blue Hose earned wins over Seattle and Robert Morris, advancing all the way to the tournament quarterfinals.
The 2018-19 team broke several PC DI season records, including scoring, rebounding, assists, and scoring margin. The Blue Hose led the league in assists, assist/turnover ratio, and were third in scoring and scoring margin. In the national statistics PC finished top 10 in assist/turnover ratio, three-pointers per game, three-pointers made, and in turnovers.
Under Kerns several 2018-19 players earned Big South All-Conference distinctions, with Adam Flagler earning Freshman of the Year Honors, becoming the second Blue Hose to pick up the award in PC’s Division I history. Davon Bell was named to the All-Conference second team, while Francois Lewis was named Honorable Mention. Flagler and Cory Hightower were named to the All-Freshmen team, with JC Younger getting a nod on the All-Academic Team. The five honorees were the most in PC Division I history.
In Kerns’ first season PC finished with 11 wins, which is over double from the 2016-17 season and tied for its highest win total since earning 14 victories in 2011-12. It included a five-game winning streak, marking the first time since 2011 the Blue Hose had won five in a row. The 8-7 start by the Blue Hose was the best 15-game start since the 2011 season when PC also started 8-7. Reggie Dillard earned Big South All-Conference honors, with Younger picking up All-Academic accolades.
Kerns is a 2002 graduate of Clemson University, where he earned a degree in secondary education. He is married to the former Brittany Wright and they are the proud parents of Emory Sulianne, born in 2011, and Riggs Bellamy, born in 2017.
FROM APP STATE:
BOONE, N.C. – A new era of Appalachian State men's basketball has arrived.
Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Thursday that Dustin Kerns has agreed to become the 22nd head coach in App State men's basketball history, pending approvals by the University Board of Trustees and the North Carolina Board of Governors.
Kerns, who oversaw a dramatic turnaround in two seasons as head coach at Presbyterian College, will be formally introduced at a 1 p.m. press conference Friday on the fifth floor of the Ricks Athletics Complex. The event is open to the public and will be streamed live on Facebook (AppStateSports).
"This is a great day for the Appalachian Family and our basketball program," Gillin said. "We are excited to welcome Dustin, Brittany, Emory and Riggs to Boone. Dustin is a highly regarded young coach who has worked with strong basketball programs and has done an impressive job as the head coach at Presbyterian. He has a clear vision for success at App State and is committed to excellence academically, competitively, socially and for the well-being of our student-athletes. I'm excited about the future of Mountaineer basketball."
A native of Kingsport, Tenn., Kerns inherited a Presbyterian program that had yet to achieve a winning record in 10 seasons at the Division I level and was coming off a six-win campaign in 2016-17. He immediately led the Blue Hose to a five-win improvement in his first year before breaking through in 2018-19.
Kerns guided the Blue Hose to their first winning record (20-16) and first postseason appearance (CIT) as a Division I program in just his second year on the job. PC's 12-3 record at home and 9-7 mark in Big South Conference play are also its best since joining the Division I ranks. Kerns' team advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIT after garnering road wins at Seattle and Robert Morris.
"Our family is honored and humbled to be joining the Appalachian State University family," Kerns said. "We are so excited to raise our family in Boone and be a part of the community. There is truly something special in these mountains that brings people together with immense pride and touches people's lives. I want to thank the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Sheri Everts, Doug Gillin, Brittney Whiteside and the rest of the App State team for their dedication and genuine pursuit of greatness in academics and athletics. I am so excited to meet the team, connect with former players, and begin our journey together."
Highly regarded for both his recruiting acumen and player development, Kerns and his staff mentored 2018-19 Big South Freshman of the Year Adam Flagler, who led the Blue Hose with 15.9 points per game and a school-record 108 3-pointers made. In Flagler and forward Cory Hightower, PC boasted two of the league's five all-freshman honorees. Point guard Davon Bell led the league in assists (6.5/game) and made the All-Big South second team.
Presbyterian established itself as one of the premier 3-point shooting teams in the country in 2018-19. The Blue Hose's 394 total trifectas currently rank second-most in the nation behind NCAA Sweet 16 contender Auburn. Kerns' team didn't just shoot the ball prolifically, but also efficiently. The team's 3-point field-goal percentage ranks among the top 25 nationally, and PC's assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.58 is fifth-best in the country.
A 2002 graduate of Clemson, Kerns climbed the coaching ranks on staffs with Buzz Peterson at Tennessee, Mike Young at Wofford and Kerry Keating at Santa Clara.
From 2013-17, he served as associate head coach at Wofford, helping the Terriers claim back-to-back Southern Conference Tournament titles and NCAA appearances in 2014 and 2015. He was instrumental in the development of guard Fletcher Magee, who this year broke the record for most 3-pointers in NCAA Division I history. Kerns received national recognition as one of college basketball's top assistant coaches and recruiters, earning the No. 4 Low-Major Recruiter ranking from CoachStat.net and the No. 20 Mid-Major Assistant Coach ranking.
Kerns was an assistant coach at Santa Clara for five seasons from 2008-13, where he helped the Broncos claim the third-most wins in the West Coast Conference behind Gonzaga and Saint Mary's during that span. He helped Santa Clara win 26 games in 2012-13 and capture the College Basketball Insider (CBI) title, as well as a 24-win season and a CIT title in 2010-11. He had previous stints as director of operations at Santa Clara (2007-08), assistant coach at Wofford (2004-07), graduate assistant at Tennessee (2003-04) and director of basketball operations at Tennessee Tech (2002-03).
During his coaching career, Kerns has seen 28 players play professionally.
Kerns graduated from Clemson in 2002 with a degree in secondary education. As an undergraduate, he worked as a student assistant for the men's basketball program and was selected to coach at the prestigious Michael Jordan Flight School for three summers from 2001-03.
Kerns played basketball at Kingsport's Dobyns-Bennett High School, a national powerhouse at the prep level and alma mater of former App State and current NFL offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore.
Kerns is married to the former Brittany Wright, and the couple has a daughter, Emory, and a son, Riggs.
Kern's Coaching Career
2002-03 – Tennessee Tech – Director of Basketball Operations
2003-04 – Tennessee – Graduate Assistant
2004-07 – Wofford – Assistant Coach
2007-08 – Santa Clara – Director of Basketball Operations
2008-13 – Santa Clara – Assistant Coach
2013-17 – Wofford – Assistant Coach
2017-19 – Presbyterian – Head Coach
What They're Saying about Kerns:
Murray State head coach, App State alum
"This is a great day for Appalachian State University. Dustin Kerns is an outstanding basketball coach who will build a winning program in Boone. He will instill a culture and style of play that all Mountaineer alumni and fans will be proud of. As a former player, Appalachian State is a place I am very passionate about, and I am thrilled we will have a coach of Dustin's caliber leading our basketball program."
Wofford head coach
"I am so happy for DK and App State. The Mountaineers are welcoming a great family, a gentleman and a wonderful basketball coach. He is directly responsible for many of the great ones we have had here. His dogged determination on the recruiting trail aligns well with his fiercely competitive approach to coaching basketball."