Bowling Green, Ky. — Western Kentucky University men’s basketball head coach Darrin Horn announced Friday the hiring of Scott Cherry as assistant coach.
Cherry comes to the Hill after serving as an assistant at George Mason since the 2003-04 season. In his eight years as a full-time assistant on the collegiate level, his teams have never finished with a losing record.
“Scott brings excellent experience as a player, coach and recruiter,” said Horn. “He has won at the highest level as a player and coach. His strong credentials, combined with his shared vision of our program's future at WKU, make him a welcomed addition to our staff.”
Cherry’s duties at GMU included recruiting, scheduling, coordinating the offense during practices and games, and working with the post players at practice. He also monitored the academic progress and strength and conditioning programs of the student-athletes, and was head coach Jim Larranaga’s recruiting coordinator.
GMU reached the 2006 Final Four during Cherry’s tenure at the school, finishing the year with a 27-8 overall record — including a 15-3 mark to tie for the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season championship — while ranking eighth in the final ESPN/USA Today poll. The 11th seed in the Washington, D.C., Region, the Patriots defeated Michigan State, third-seeded North Carolina, Wichita State and No. 1 seed Connecticut — the second-ranked team in the country in the final regular season polls — before falling to eventual national champion Florida in the semifinals in Indianapolis.
The Patriots also advanced to postseason play in 2004, winning a pair of National Invitation Tournament contests en route to a 23-10 finish.
He also was on the Patriot staff from 1999-02, helping the team to three straight first- or second-place finishes in the CAA standings as GMU recorded a 36-14 (72%) mark in league action during that stretch. In his seven years on Larranaga’s staff, Cherry helped the school to a 140-79 (63.9%) overall record and a 82-40 (67.2%) CAA record. The Patriots also qualified for the 2001 NCAA Tournament and the 2002 NIT field while he was with the Fairfax, Va., institution.
In between stints at GMU, he served one season as an assistant at Tennessee Tech — he helped the Golden Eagles to a 20-12 mark as they advanced to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship game that year. Cherry was responsible for recruiting, scouting the opposition, monitoring the academic and strength and conditioning programs, and directing TTU’s team and individual camps in his only year with the school.
“I’m excited about the opportunity that coach Horn is providing not just for me, but my family. It’s a wonderful chance to not only work with a great coach and program, but to get my family closer to home,” Cherry said. “I anticipate helping to carry on the rich tradition of WKU basketball, and hope that my experience as a player and a coach will help the program to many more championships.
“I’m anxious to get to Bowling Green and work not just with the returning players and incoming freshmen, but to begin recruiting to ensure WKU’s success in the future.”
Cherry began in the coaching profession as the head junior varsity and assistant varsity boys basketball coach at Bishop McGuinness (N.C.) High School during the 1997-98 season. He worked as an administrative assistant at his alma mater, North Carolina, from March-August 1998 before spending the 1998-99 campaign as an assistant women’s coach at Middle Tennessee.
A 1993 UNC graduate, Cherry lettered four years for the Tar Heels as they defeated Michigan and the “Fab Five” to win the national championship his senior season. In fact, his efforts helped the team advance at least to the Sweet 16 every year of his career including a trip to the 1991 Final Four. UNC posted a 107-33 (76.4%) record during Cherry’s time on the squad.
After graduating, he played professionally for one season with the AEL Basketball Club in Limassol, Cyprus.
Cherry — who is 36 and hails from Ballston Spa, N.Y. — and his wife Cortney have one son, Brody (1).
He replaces Jeff Strohm, who will be leaving WKU to pursue other career goals. “Jeff will be moving on to pursue his career goals of being a head coach or working at a higher level of basketball, possibly the NBA,” said Horn.
Cherry joins a staff that has led WKU to three straight 20-win seasons after the Hilltoppers posted a 22-11 mark a year ago. That included recording 10 victories against a non-conference schedule that was ranked 58th-toughest in the nation.