By JASON PUGH, Special to the Journal
NATCHITOCHES – After engineering a 13-win turnaround for the Northwestern State men’s basketball team, head coach Corey Gipson has resigned his position to accept the head coaching position at Austin Peay.
Gipson, a former player and assistant coach at Austin Peay who helped the Governors to an NCAA Tournament and NIT berth in his two seasons in uniform, will be introduced in Clarkville, Tenn., Tuesday.
In his lone season at Northwestern State, Gipson led the Demons to their most wins in a single season in a decade and their most Southland Conference wins in a season since 2014-15. Gipson took Northwestern to its first Southland Conference Tournament championship game since 2013 and the Demons’ second-place finish in the SLC regular season was its best since the 2012-13 season.
“Corey Gipson did a tremendous job during his time here at Northwestern State,” NSU athletics director Kevin Bostian said. “From the hours of off-the-court community service to the on-court product, his program was deeply tied to the university and the city of Natchitoches. Together, they brought national recognition to Northwestern State while succeeding in the game of basketball and outside of it. While it is difficult to lose good coaches, Austin Peay’s interest speaks highly of the work Corey and his staff did during their time here.”
Under Gipson, Northwestern collected its first regular-season victory against an Associated Press Top 25 team, defeating then-No. 15 TCU, 64-63, in Fort Worth, Texas, on Nov. 14. Northwestern State’s 8-2 start to the season was the best 10-game mark for the program since moving to the Division I level in the 1976-77 season and its best since the 1952-53 season.
In the past week, Gipson has been named a finalist for the Ben Jobe Award, honoring the nation’s top Division I minority coach, the Hugh Durham Award for the nation’s top mid-major coach and the Joe B. Hall Award, which honors the top first-time head coach in Division I.
Gipson helped tutor the Southland Conference Player and Newcomer of the Year DeMarcus Sharp, who is a finalist for the Lou Henson Player of the Year that is given to the nation’s top mid-major player.
“The year-to-year improvement shown by coach Gipson and his program elevated the perception of our program,” Bostian said. “I wish he, (wife) April, and their family all the best in the immediate and more distant future and thank them for what they did for Northwestern State and the Natchitoches community.”
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