Posted: Jun 18, 2013 9:38 AM
COLUMBIA -- Mizzou Head Basketball Coach Frank Haith announced the hiring of former Drake University Head Coach Mark Phelps as an assistant coach on Tuesday. Phelps enjoyed more wins (77) than any Drake head coach in his first five seasons with the program and led the Bulldogs to a pair of postseason berths, including the team's first postseason win since 1975.
A veteran presence on the bench and on the recruiting trail, Phelps has 17 seasons of experience as both a head coach and assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level and three of his final four recruiting classes at Drake ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the Missouri Valley Conference by various national recruiting services.
Phelps, 47, began coaching at the Division I level in 1996 at N.C. State and has been a part of 12 postseason tournament appearances in his career, including five consecutive NCAA Tournament selections with the Wolfpack before becoming the Associate Head Coach under Sendek at Arizona State in 2006.
"We are all so excited to welcome Mark into our basketball family," Head Coach Frank Haith said. "I've known Mark for a number of years and have always admired his approach to the game of basketball. He is tireless with his preparation and gets the most out of his players because he is there putting in the work with them. When we had this opening become available Mark was my first call and it speaks well of Mizzou that we were able to recruit him away from some other great programs."
As mentioned, Phelps won more games in his first five seasons than any coach in Drake history. Owning just one NCAA Tournament appearance since 1971 and two postseason bids of any kind since 1981, Phelps helped the Bulldogs advance to the CollegeInsider.com (CIT) twice in his five years (2009 and 2012), including a win over North Dakota in the opening round in 2012. Drake (18-16 overall, 9-9 MVC in 2012) finished third in the final Missouri Valley Conference standings that season and two of his players, Rayvonte Rice and Ben Simons, earned Second Team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors.
"I'm extremely honored to have the opportunity to join Coach Haith's staff here at Missouri and I want to thank Coach Haith, Mike Alden and the administration for giving me this opportunity to continue my coaching career as a Tiger," Phelps said. "It goes without saying, but I have a great deal of respect for Coach Haith and how he runs his program. He has distinguished himself as one of the elite coaches throughout his climb in our profession. We saw the fantastic job he did at Miami when we were at N.C. State and he has brought that same winning pedigree here to Mizzou."
Phelps spent two years as the Associate Head Coach at Arizona State following his 10 seasons at N.C. State, and the Sun Devils saw remarkable improvement going from 8-22 his first season to 21-13 and a postseason appearance in year two.
"Mark's experience on the bench and recruiting ties across the country makes this a great hire for us," Haith said. "He was a highly respected high school coach in Virginia and he has ties throughout basketball from his time in the ACC, Pac-12 and Missouri Valley, three tremendous basketball leagues, so we are excited to get him on campus, get him acclimated to Mizzou and out on the road next month."
Prior to joining Sendek's staff in Raleigh, N.C., Phelps was a highly successful high school coach in Virginia. He led Rock Church Academy (1990-94) in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va., to a 104-41 record and then moved to Atlantic Shores Christian School (1994-96), leading the team to a 44-12 mark.
Phelps and his wife Alissa have two children, a son Owen and a daughter Laney.