The N.C. State basketball program will have several new faces on the coaching staff ahead of the 2020-21 season.
On May 19th, 2020 the North Carolina State Wolfpack Men’s Basketball team announced a new assistant coach, a new Director of Basketball Operations, and a new Assistant Director of Basketball Operations. Mike Sumney will be the newest N.C. State assistant coach, Steve Snell will be the new Director of Basketball Operations and Chris Zupko will serve as the Assistant Director of Basketball Operations. The three staff additions will join head coach Kevin Keatts as he enters his fourth season with the Wolfpack in the 2020-21 season.
Sumney’s rise to the Wolfpack
Mike Sumney will take the assistant coaching role that was vacated when former assistant Takayo Siddle left the Wolfpack to be the new head coach at UNC-Wilmington this past March. Sumney joins the Wolfpack after spending the last five seasons as an assistant at Bowling Green State University, where he focused on player development. While at Bowling Green, his players received All-MAC awards 11 times and reached the 2019 MAC Tournament Championship game.
Sumney is a great example of rising up through the industry of college basketball. Sumney graduated from N.C. State in 1997, where he served as a student manager for the Wolfpack’s Men’s Basketball team. After graduating, he spent two more seasons as a graduate manager under Herb Sendek with the Wolfpack before becoming an assistant coach at Saint Francis.
In 2008, Sumney left his assistant coaching role at North Florida to become a head coach at Division III Bethany College. While at Bethany, Sumney led the team to the best-ever record for a coach in their first season, all while losing four starters from the previous season. Sumney then left Bethany for a Director of Basketball Operations role with the University of Miami until 2013, when he rejoined Saint Francis as the associate head coach for two years before leaving for Bowling Green.
Snell brings experience
Steve Snell joins N.C. State with a lot of experience to fall back on. Snell has 30 years of experience with Division I basketball, although none with a Power-5 school. He spent last season as an assistant coach at Ohio University, but he is known for his role at the University of Denver. Snell was an assistant coach for the Summit League team and while there, he played a crucial role in establishing a high-tempo offense that led to multiple players earning Summit League honors.
Snell was also an associate head coach at Santa Clara University from 2014-2016 and spent seven seasons at the Air Force Academy. Snell also has stops as an assistant coach at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, Tulane, Marshall, and East Tennessee State. He has been around the game a long time and his experience should be something that benefits both himself as well as the Pack, especially as he makes the transition into the ACC.
Zupko’s connection with Keatts runs deep
Chris Zupko joins the Wolfpack after spending the last four seasons as the Coordinator of Basketball Operations at Drexel University. Prior to working at Drexel, Zupko was an assistant coach at Hargrave Military Academy, where he helped lead the team to a 2004 national championship. While at Hargrave, Zupko coached under Kevin Keatts, who was the school’s head coach at the time, in addition to being the varsity head coach for the Hargrave lacrosse team.
Zupko joins a theme of N.C. State in hiring personnel who have previously worked for Hargrave. Keatts along with former assistant coach Takayo Siddle, and current assistant James Johnson have all previously worked at the high-school powerhouse in some form of coaching capacity.
Experience of new personnel should bring success
One common theme of these three men is that they all have experience at the Division I level. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing programs to lose time that is usually spent working out and growing together, this veteran coaching experience could prove key if the Wolfpack wants to return to the NCAA tournament, after failing to make an appearance the last two seasons.For further information on the hires, go here.