Men's Basketball Program Welcomes Two to Coaching Staff
Contact: Justin Long
AMHERST, MA – Amherst College men’s basketball head coach Dave Hixon ’75 has announced that Paul Halas and Kevin Hopkins ’08 will join the Lord Jeff coaching staff for the 2011-12 season.
Amherst welcomes Paul Halas (above) and Kevin Hopkins '08 to the staff.
Halas joins Amherst after a three-year coaching stint with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After RPI posted an 11-14 mark in 2008, Halas jumped on board and helped the Engineers improve their record to 15-13 in 2009, winning the Liberty League title to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. The following season Halas helped lead RPI to a 15-10 record, and last year the Engineers finished at 17-8 after closing out the regular season on a seven-game win streak.
“We are extremely excited to have someone of Paul’s experience and background join the Amherst basketball family,” Hixon says. “Paul was instrumental in RPI’s successes over the past three seasons. He is well known on the recruiting/camp circuit in the Northeast, and he brings quality bench coaching experience with him.”
Halas graduated from Rensselaer in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications, appearing in 61 games as a member of the basketball team. As a senior captain he was named the school’s Henry Kumpf Award recipient, which is given annually to a student-athlete who has demonstrated a strong degree of motivation, desire and determination in contributing to the success of the team.
A native of Sea Girt, N.J., Halas spent the 2007-08 season as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball program at Drew University. Among his responsibilities were recruiting, game-planning and scouting. In addition to coaching at Drew, Halas also worked for Penton Publishing following graduation.
Returning to Amherst to work with his former coach is Hopkins, one of the best centers in program history. With Hopkins bringing a dominant presence in the paint, the Lord Jeffs made three appearances in the national semifinals, notably winning the 2007 title and finishing as the 2008 runners-up. He and the other members of the Class of 2008 posted a 111-12 record, including 34-2 in NESCAC play and 65-4 at home.
“We’re excited to have Kevin joining our ranks this year,” says Hixon. “As an important member of the national championship team and a two-year professional player, Kevin will make an immediate impact with our post players. We think Kevin’s impact will make us that much better, and to have him for a two-year stint is huge.”
After graduating from Amherst as a psychology major in 2008, Hopkins signed to play professional basketball for the Osnabruck P4Two Ballers in Osnabruck, Germany. Later that year he would join a team in Gotha, Germany, and in 2009 he played alongside former classmate Andrew Olson ’08 with Oldenburg TB.
Hopkins consistently provided the rest of the NESCAC with matchup issues, as the 6’10 center ranked among the conference leaders in blocked shots and field goal percentage in each of his final two seasons. He averaged 10.4 points per game during the 2006-07 championship season, and as a senior he scored 9.8 points per contest while leading the NESCAC in field goal percentage (.629). While coaching at Amherst Hopkins will pursue a master’s degree in sport management from the UMass Isenberg School of Management.