COLLEGE BASKETBALL; Baylor's Driscoll Accepts UNF Job High-Energy Coach, 44, Has a Reputation for Building Programs

By Frenette, Gene | The Florida Times Union, April 5, 2009 | Go to article overview

COLLEGE BASKETBALL; Baylor's Driscoll Accepts UNF Job High-Energy Coach, 44, Has a Reputation for Building Programs


Frenette, Gene, The Florida Times Union


Byline: GENE FRENETTE

The University of North Florida began the process of hoping to reverse its sagging men's basketball program Saturday by hiring Baylor University assistant Matthew Driscoll as its head coach, ending a three-week search for a successor to Matt Kilcullen.

Driscoll, 44, who helped revitalize scandal-marred Baylor since arriving there in 2003 under head coach Scott Drew, is scheduled to arrive Monday in Jacksonville for his first tour of the UNF campus. He's expected to sign a multiyear contract and will be introduced at a Tuesday news conference.

"I think he's going to bring an exciting brand of basketball," said UNF athletic director Lee Moon. "Offensively, I think he'll be able to get our team up and down the court more, bringing a different tempo and style. I know he'll bring a level of intensity that will raise our competitiveness."

Several factors went into Moon offering the job to Driscoll after initially being turned down by University of Florida associate coach Larry Shyatt, who was hired by Moon when he was the AD at Wyoming.

Moon was impressed by how Driscoll helped turn around Baylor's program, which had one of its players murdered by an ex-teammate and endured NCAA violations under previous coach Dave Bliss.

Within four years, Driscoll was part of a coaching staff that led Baylor back to the NCAA Tournament after a 20-year absence.

"The thing I liked about [Driscoll] is he went into an unbelievably difficult situation at Baylor, and they cleaned it up," Moon said. "They did it the right way at a good, strong academic school and that told me he knew how to build a program. As I looked at the total package, that was a big part of [why UNF is hiring him]."

Driscoll, who becomes the fourth coach in the 17-year history of the Ospreys' basketball program, says he's looking forward to the challenge of UNF's first season as a full-fledged Division I member after four years of transition from Division II.

With Baylor's comeback in recent years, plus his experience as a head coach taking over a previously defunct program at Division III LaRoche College (1993-97), Driscoll believes inheriting UNF's struggling program is the right fit.

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