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Figger adds Illinois-Chicago assistant to staff

APSU Athletics Communications

By Cody Bush

APSU Athletics Communications

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. —Austin Peay men’s basketball coach Matt Figger has added Rod Clark as the program’s new assistant coach.

Clark joins the Governors after a year at Illinois-Chicago, where he was part of a staff that led the Flames to an 18-17 mark overall and an appearance in the Horizon League Championship game.

Clark is already familiar to some in the Governor basketball family — prior to joining the staff at UIC, he served as the top assistant at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, where he coached current Gov Carlos Paez, and also a year with MoKan Elite in the Nike EYBL circuit, coaching Paez and Austin Peay newcomers Mike Peake and Corbin Merritt.

In his first year at Sunrise Christian, the team finished 24-2, appeared in the Top 5 of the national rankings for the first time in program history and finished the season No. 2 according to USA Today and MaxPreps. His team followed that up with a 22-5 record the following season, finishing the year ranked 10th nationally and making the program’s first-ever appearance at the Geico National Tournament.

His MoKan Elite team posted a 30-7 record during the spring and summer of 2018 en route to being named Division champions and earning a bid to the Nike Peach Jam, where they advanced to the semifinals. His squad followed up the semifinal appearance in 2018 with a championship at the Nike Peach Jam last summer, defeating Team WhyNot (Los Angeles) in the finals. Clark helped develop current Chicago Bull Shaq Harrison, as well as Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky) and Isaac Likekele (Oklahoma State), both of whom were members of the USA U19 squad that won the gold medal.

A Kansas City native, Clark spent his final two seasons as a player at nearby Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky.

“He’s a very enthusiastic coach, young and hungry,” Figger said. “He brings ties from both the prep school level and the EYBL level, so he’s got great recruiting skills. He did a great job in his year at UIC. He’ll bring a lot of connections that will be valuable for our staff, and work with our guards in their development.”

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