Jamon Copeland, who has both East Texas and Texas ties, is the new basketball coach at The University of Texas at Tyler, Dr. Howard Patterson, vice president for student affairs and director of athletics, announced during a news conference in the Physical Health Education Building on Tuesday.
"We are very excited to welcome Jamon to UT Tyler as our next men's basketball coach," Patterson said. "Our staff is very excited about having him on board, and his record demonstrates that he knows how to build a winning program and we look forward to him taking the Patriot men's basketball program to the next level."
Copeland, a Dallas native who attended Coppell High School, comes to UT Tyler from Ave Maria University near Naples, Fla. He started the basketball program at the NAIA school. During his four seasons at the helm, Copeland increased the program's wins in a season from 14 to 23, and his teams were ranked in the NAIA Top 25 on multiple occasions.
Also, his program maintained a 3.1 combined GPA and posted a 100-percent graduation rate during his tenure.
"I'm honored to be selected to serve The University of Texas at Tyler and its men's basketball program," Copeland said. "I look forward to building a program that fosters a strong work ethic and a commitment to success both in the classroom and on the court."
Copeland, 32, replaces Kenny Bizot, who left to take the Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) Community College position.
Before moving to Florida, Copeland served as the assistant men's coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas State University in San Marcos. Under Bobcats coach Doug Davalos, Copeland was responsible for individual player development, recruiting, scouting opponents, academic advising, scheduling, strength and conditioning and other areas. While at Texas State, Copeland helped sign seven Top-40 high school players in Texas and helped the Bobcats improve their win totals in each of those seasons.
During the 2005-06 season, Copeland was the assistant men's and women's head coach at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens where he helped lead the Cardinals to a Region XIV Championship.
Copeland, who will bring Marc Rozanski as his assistant coach, said he will recruit Texas high schools, along with the Region XIV and Metro Athletic Conference junior colleges. Rozanski played for Copeland at Ave Maria and was an assistant coach last season at The University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.
Copeland said he was excited to return to his home state, and the team's goal will be to win the American Southwest Conference each year.
"I'm glad to be back in Texas," Copeland said. "I was away four and a half years in Florida and it was a great time; but there's no place like Texas."
He said the Patriot basketball program is a sleeping giant. Copeland cited the "academy reputation of the world-renowned University of Texas system; the athletic success of the department; and the location — Tyler is a great place, a great college town and a great place to raise a family."
Copeland and his wife Jessica have two young boys, Corban, 3ﾽ, and Blaise, 2; and another child on the way — Asher is due in September.
"I'm thankful to Dr. (Rodney) Mabry (UT Tyler president) and Dr. Patterson for allowing me this opportunity," Copeland said. "My family and I are excited to be back in Texas and can't wait to get started."
Copeland began his coaching career at Keller High School. He is a 2004 graduate of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. He holds a Master of Science from Texas A&M-Commerce. Additionally, Copeland is a Cross Fit Level I trainer.