Newell tabbed UWA men’s coach

Published 11:25 am Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LIVINGSTON — The University of West Alabama Department of Athletics has announced the hiring of Mike Newell as head men’s basketball coach effective Apr. 11. Newell comes to UWA after serving in the same capacity at the University of Arkansas at Monticello for nine seasons.

Newell was hired at UAM in 2001 and his recruiting efforts brought in Billy McDaniel, who became a first-team All-American in 2003 for the Boll Weevils, the first in the school’s history and Nate Newell, his son, who earned first-team All-GSC honors in 2009. Newell built the Boll Weevils from the ground floor and led them to the Division II NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2006.

Newell, who has tallied a 301-227 career record in 18 seasons, has posted seven, 20-win seasons as head coach.

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Newell is no stranger to winning as he won 113 games his first five seasons as a head coach, one more than the legendary John Wooden won in his first five years at Indiana State. He also guided the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to a historic upset of #10 Notre Dame in the 1986 NCAA Tournament.

Newell’s first coaching stop came as an assistant at the University of Oklahoma under Billy Tubbs. While serving a brief stint as Interim Head Coach at OU, Newell guided the Sooners to a big win over UAB in the 1983 NCAA Tournament.

In Newell’s last season as an assistant at OU, the Sooners posted a 29-5 record and a No. 5 national ranking with a No. 2 seed in the West Region, along with a Big 8 Conference Championship.

In 1984, he became the head coach at UALR and guided the Trojans to a 17-13 record in his first season. Newell’s teams qualified for five consecutive postseason bids, including three bids to the NCAA Tournament. His squads won three Trans-America Athletic Conference Championships and he was named TAAC Coach of the Year twice before leaving UALR for Lamar following the 1990 season.

In 1990, Newell took the reigns at Lamar University and turned a seven-win team into a 16-game winner.

Newell began his college playing career for Press Maravich (father of the legendary Pete Maravich) at Louisiana State. One year later, he transferred to Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Tex., where he led the 1973 Bearkats to a 28-0 record and the NAIA National Championship. In Newell’s three years as a starter at SHSU, the Bearkats were 76-13. Newell was inducted into the Bearkcat Hall of Honor in 1990. Newell received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University.