Amherst College names Marlon Sears men’s basketball coach


Published: 6/10/2020 3:24:35 PM

Marlon Sears has been named the head coach of the Amherst College men’s basketball program, Director of Athletics Don Faulstick announced Wednesday.

Sears spent last season as the associate head coach at Division I Columbia, his second stint with the New York university. Sears starts at Amherst July 1.

“I am very excited to be the next head men’s basketball coach at an incredibly prestigious academic institution in Amherst College,” Sears said in a statement. “I would like to thank Athletic Director Donald Faulstick for the tremendous opportunity to lead a men’s program with such a rich history of success. I will work hard to guide the Amherst program to a similar high level of achievement on and off the court to where our College and Amherst communities can continue to be proud.”

Before rejoining Columbia a year ago, Sears served as the head coach at Division III Montclair State (N.J.) University from 2015-19, where he led the Red Hawks to some of the most successful seasons in the program’s history.

“I’m extremely excited to have Marlon Sears on board as our next head coach of men’s basketball,” Faulstick said in a statement. “I am confident he’ll continue the storied culture of winning on and off the court and provide our student-athletes with a championship-caliber experience. Marlon has all the right characteristics to be an outstanding head coach in the NESCAC: he’s a tremendous recruiter, coach and educator and has genuine interest in all of his players’ many successes.”

Sears replaces interim coach Aaron Toomey, who led the Mammoths to an 18-8 record (7-3 NESCAC) last season. Toomey filled in for longtime coach David Hixon, who took a sabbatical last season.

Hixon coached Amherst for 42 seasons. He finished with a career record of 826-292. The Mammoths won national titles in 2007 and 2013.

“I’d like to thank David Hixon, a true ‘Amherst story,’ for building and maintaining an extraordinarily successful program over his 42 years at the College and for having a sustained impact on the lives of his players,” Faulstick added. “We’re also indebted to Aaron Toomey, who did terrific work stepping up during Dave’s leave last season. Not only is he one of the finest players to have played at Amherst, he has been an excellent assistant and interim coach. Both of these men hold indelible places in the history of Amherst Athletics.”

Sears’ Montclair teams compiled a 59-46 record (a .561 winning percentage). He mentored seven All-Academic honorees, six All-Conference players and a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) and Regional Rookie of the Year. The Red Hawks’ 18 wins during the 2017-18 season marked the highest win total for the program in seven seasons, while its 79.1 points per contest was the program’s highest single-season average in 24 years. In 2018-19, Sears guided MSU to the top of the Division III leaderboard in rebounding margin at 12.2 per contest.

Prior to his time at Montclair State, Sears spent seven years coaching in the Ivy League, as an assistant at both Columbia and Cornell (2009-15). He also spent time as an assistant at High Point (2008-2009), Wagner (2006-2008) and Binghamton (2001-2006).

“Marlon is one of the most charismatic and energetic coaches you will come across at any level of college basketball,” Boston University coach Joe Jones said in a statement. Sears was an assistant for Jones at Columbia from 2009-2010. “He coupled these attributes with a great understanding of the game while possessing a strong work ethic. Amherst and Marlon are a terrific match.”

As a player at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, Sears was named an NAIA All-American following his senior season in which he averaged 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists per game. Sears earned a bachelor’s in communications.

“I am excited for both Marlon and Amherst College,” Holly Gera, retired Director of Athletics at Montclair State, said in a statement. “This new partnership seems to be a perfect fit. Marlon’s knowledge, work ethic, personality and commitment to student-athletes make him an excellent coach. He embraces the Division III philosophy and he will foster excellence on and off the court. Amherst men’s basketball and Marlon Sears will thrive together.”


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