Mark Gaffney - Umass Dartmouth  

The Xavier educated has a strong degree of basketball and success. Most recently, Gaffney served at two prominent DIII programs. At Roger Williams, he aided in the program’s first-ever regional ranking. At Hamilton College, he coached league titles and mentored three All-Conference players. Some of his finest development work includes Travis Walton, who went on to be a three-time captain at Michigan State and the 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. 

Jay Pivec - St. Thomas

The NJCAA National COY and HOF coach has made numerous stops as an AC or HC. While at MCTC, Pivec took over a program that was winless and raised it to the national level. Balancing academics, athletics, and career preparation, he is very well-respected in the profession. With more than 600 victories, Jay’s accomplishments in developing, and mentoring student-athletes is equally impressive and a big reason for thier successful top 40 season.

Thomas Johnson – Berry 

Player development, recruiting, and working closely with the academics, Johnson previously held similar positions at Samford University, Middle Tennessee State and UAB. He also had a successful high school head coaching career in the Birmingham and Memphis areas. A great culture fit for any institution, Johnson is a proven winner as a coach on the floor, a proven recruiter and, most importantly, a person of high character as any head coach will tell you.

Roland Ross – Christopher Newport 

Ross has been at the forefront of bringing the best talent to the DIII CNU campus. Nine different players have earned All-America recognition a total of 13 times. Eleven of his players have gone on to play professionally in just about every corner of the globe - even the NBA. It's something that rarely happens in Division III. But Ross continues his twenty six year story of success imparting wisdom on some of the brightest young minds in the game at CNU.

Chris O'Connell - Webster   

Is it any wonder that All three of O’Connell’s seasons on staff have seen the Gorloks win SLIAC titles? His first two seasons saw a school record 20 wins, culminating in two trips to the NCAA Tournament, a feat previously reached only in 2002. O’Connell has led the Gorloks defense to the #1 SLIAC ranking in Defensive FG% and Fewest Fouls Committed in all three seasons, while also finishing first or second in Scoring Defense and Turnovers.

Ryan Flynn - WPI

Flynn helped lead WPI to three consecutive 20-win seasons and three consecutive NCAA tournament berths, while leading the recruiting efforts in bringing in All-American & First Team All-Conference players, a NEWMAC Rookie-of-the-Year players, not to mention key DI transfers. In addition to leading the recruiting efforts, Flynn is responsible for player development, scouting reports, film, alumni relations/events, summer camp, strength & conditioning, and practice & game preparation.

Sam Moore - Susquehanna

All the Moore reason for their top 25 season, Sam excels at practice implementation, recruiting, player skill development and opponent scouting to increase wins; not to mention individual stats. Since taking the job in 2014, he draws on experience served as an assistant coach at Alfred University part of a coaching staff that captured the Empire 8 Coaching Staff of the Year honors and a bid to the ECAC Southwest Tournament. 

Tom Berry - Catholic

Developing Conference Defensive Player of the Year, overall Player of the Year and third-team All-American selections, for the second year in a row, Berry’s guard work  has attained high honors including Senior Scholar Athletes. Beyond that,  he achieved regular-season and tournament titles. The entire Catholic bench has been honored with Coaching Staff of the Year accolades in seasons past. 

Michael Shewmaker - Castleton

Three years in, his impact was immediate leading those first two seasons with a pair of appearances in the North Atlantic Conference Semifinals. During the 2013-14 season, Castleton finished the year ranked second nationally in steals (12.3), 3rd in three-point field goals (11.0), fourth in assists (18.0), fifth in defensive rebounds (29.2) and eighth in offensive rebounds (15.7). The work continues as they sit with fifteen wins this year and counting.


Alisha Hvistendahl - Bethel

Hvistendahl is in her first season of double duty  while continuing her role as the teams head athletic trainer. After eight years with the Timberwolves and Lynx organization, five years as the Head Athletic Trainer, she worked with 3-time Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA standouts and 5-time Olympians. Good enough for the country, she is good enough for DIII and proves it win after win. Just ask her coaching references Fred Hoiberg and Ed Conroy.

Joe Fano – North Park

Fano enters his first year at north Park after two seasons with Benedictine where he helped lead the team to three All-NACC First Team players, a two-year record of 49-10 with back-to-back Conference championships, and one National Player of the Year.  As already whiteness by an increased total of wins, North Park is on its way to leading DIII in total assists, assists per game, rebounding margin, defensive rebounds per game, field goal percentage defense, Final Fours and much more with Fano on the sidelines.


Dan McNeely – Piedmont 

Highly effective in his first year, the Lions posted 15 wins in 2015-16 (the most since 2009-10). He also tutored an All-Conference Honorable Mention and placed four on the NABC Honors Court for work in the classroom leading to the NABC Team Academic Award. Prior to arriving at Piedmont, McNeely enjoyed a ton of success at NCAA DIII Manchester. His passion for winning and doing things "the old school way" has already resulted in one DIII National Championship at Wittenberg.

Matt Winters – Ohio Northern  

Matt Winters is in his first year as an assistant coach at Ohio Northern University. He joins ONU after spending the 2015-16 season at Rhodes (Tenn.), where he helped coach three players to All-SAA honors. Winters also served as an assistant coach at Denison during which time his team advanced to the Conference Tournament three times, and five of his players earned All-NCAC honors.


Ryan Kershaw - Carleton

Kershaw first served as assistant coach at Augsburg where he guided them to one of the most impressive turnarounds in recent MIAC history. During the five-season span he recorded the second-highest winning percentage in conference (.647) and appeared in the post-season four times.  He set the highest single-season win total for an Augsburg team since 1999. Just as history has a way of repeating itself, we now see Kershaw breath new life into the Carleton program.

Ryan Shay - Rochester

Shay enters his 3rd year on the Yellowjacket staff after two seasons of coaching at Alfred University where he helped the Saxons improve to 18-9 in his second season and rank in the top five in NCAA Division III in points per game, steals per game and total rebounds.


Justin Bradley - Williams

One year removed from Dartmouth College. His Ivy league basketball IQ has been evident in there winning season much improved from a year ago. Responsible for scouting reports, recruiting nationally,  player development, scheduling games, and volunteer opportunities for the program. Bradley also worked at NCCU in Operations and GA roles as well as on-court development he assisted in the 2014 NCAA Tournament and 2015 NIT amassing a 53-14 record.

Dewayne Evans – Benedictine 

Evans joined the staff prior to the start of the 2016-17 season. The Oberlin College graduate arrives following a tenure as assistant coach at Lake Forest College. Lake Forest finished 20-4 in the 2011-12 season, winning the Midwest Conference. While at Lake Forest, Evans designed a perimeter player development program which resulted in three all-conference choices  Prior to joining Lake Forest, Evans is a big reason for their top 10 season.

Jon Millea - Buena Vista 

In his first year back at his alma mater during the ’13-’14 season, Milea helped guide the Beavers to a share of the Iowa Conference regular season title before assisting them to its second title in three years in 2014-15. As a key instructor for post play, he helped mentor the league's Defensive Player of the Year and the league's top scorer and rebounder.

Kyle Heikkinen – Wisconsin Whitewater

The last three seasons saw the Warhawks compile a record of 69-18 with a 35-11 mark in Conference and a national championship. None of this is surprising if you believe recruiting is the lifeblood of any successful team as Heikkien brings a widespread recruiting background having worked for ESPN, and 247Sports as a recruiting analyst. Heikkinen and Chad Boudreau deliver a winning combination twenty times over so far this season alone.  


Caleb Lawson – Washington University St Louis

Lawson’s first season as a full-time assistant coach in 2009-10 saw the Bears post a 24-3 overall record, their ninth University Athletic Association title in school history, and the 2009 DIII National Championship. He simply hasn’t stopped. Since then, he has developed 24-3 records, three straight UAA titles, undefeated seasons, and Final Fours. At the highest level, the former DI Austin Peay GA helped the Governors to a OVC Tournament Championship.

Griffin LaDew - Rochester 

Two seasons past the hiring of LaDew it’s no surprise to see the Yellowjackets with a top ten ranking. Developing three All-UAA selections, LaDew has been a great addition to one of the best basketball benches in DIII which also features x’s and o’s / stats master Ryan Shay. LaDew adds coaching experience with multiple conference regular season titles, 20-win seasons and a top-50 DIII scoring defense. He coached 15 All-Conference athletes, and successfully recruited from across sixteen different states.

Stephen Garnett - Whitman

Whitman has seen a steady rise lately, consistently exceeding the twenty-win horizon and continuing to climbing. They started down this road six years ago with the hiring of Garnett and he is playing a large role in the unprecedented, undefeated season they are enjoying today in Walla Walla. He is living proof that to do things the right way by truly caring about players and wanting them to succeed in every aspect of life, you can succeed beyond imagination.

Micheal Floyd - Hanover

One year in at Hanover, Floyd first joined Piedmont's staff to help jump-start the team's resurgence through recruiting and mentoring. The revamped squad eventually earned a 3.41 grade-point average and posted a 13-win improvement from his first to third season on the bench – including a victory over #6 ranked Emory University. In addition, several of his players earned individual USA South Conference honors, including the league's Rookie of the Year last winter.


Fred Andrews - Thomas Moore

Following highly sucessful careers at the high school and juco levels he landed in Fort Wayne to lead the Mastodon’s pack transition from DII to DI where he landed two all- state all stars. He also developed walk-on turned long-time pro David Simon. At Wichita State his winning ways continued before taking up the head coaching post at DII Indianapolis. Now the tri-state success story continues in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky where we have already seen an increase in wins from a year ago.


Brandon Stromer - Simpson 

Stromer has taken the lead. Not only on our list, but in recruiting too. Bringing in five All-Iowa Conference performers, he ended up coaching seven! Turning out first and second team all-conference players seemingly at will, his experience at the DI and DII level is obvious. Winning a national championship as a DII player he understands the work. He furthered that knowledge under COY Keno Davis at Drake. From Operations to on court development, Stormer Bulldogs his way to historic season after season after season.

These Assistants have a huge impact on their programs while demonstrating success in 

athletics development, coaching, professional and ethical conduct, academic development, recruiting, practice/game planning, management and more

Top Small College Assistant Coaches (DIII)