PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University has filled the vacancy in its men's basketball office with the announcement of a new head coach to take over the Panther program.
Damien Strahorn, an assistant coach at Columbia University the past four years, has been named the 12th head coach in the 64-year history of the Panther men's basketball program. Strahorn is a former all-star player at Colby College in Maine, where he also served four years as an assistant coach before joining the staff at Columbia. Strahorn takes over from John Scheinman, who stepped down in May to take a position in PSU's Advancement office.
"I am honored to be selected as the next head men's basketball coach at Plymouth State University," said Strahorn (right). "I am excited to tackle the challenges of building a championship-level program. Coach Scheinman has done an excellent job during his 10-year tenure, and I am excited to begin working with our players and the campus community to build on the past successes of the program. I'm confident we can work together to elevate the program to new heights."
Strahorn was the longest-tenured assistant coach at Columbia on the staff of former head coach Joe Jones. They coached the Lions to the most Ivy League wins for Columbia during a three-year span since 1994 and helped them tie for most wins in one season in 30 years with a 16-12 mark in 2006-07. Strahorn was named interim head coach at Columbia last April when Coach Jones left to become the associate head coach at Boston College.
"We are excited to welcome Damien Strahorn as our new head men's basketball coach," said PSU athletic director John Clark. "Our search committee had a very difficult decision because there were a number of outstanding candidates, but Damien emerged as the clear choice. He is extremely knowledgeable and qualified in all areas of coaching basketball, and we look forward to him leading our men's basketball program and being a member of the Plymouth community."
In the four years Strahorn was at Columbia, the team had the best four-year record since 1980. He coached and helped develop three All-Ivy League players, three All-Metropolitan players, including the first Columbian to earn first team All-Metropolitan area honors since 1993, and an Academic All-American. Strahorn went to Columbia after serving as an assistant for four years at Colby under veteran under head coach Dick Whitmore.
"I would specifically like to thank John Clark and the committee members for the tremendous opportunity they have offered me," added Strahorn. "I would also like to thank two Plymouth State alumni, Seth Peloso and Nick Pelotte, for their help and support through the process. It is apparent that the basketball program already has a strong alumni base and I look forward to meeting and working with as many alumni as possible."
A native of Menlo Park, California, Strahorn graduated from Colby in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in economics and a minor in administrative services. As a two-year player at Colby, Strahorn was captain of the men's basketball team and was named First Team All-NESCAC and Second Team All-New England after averaging 22.9 points per game in his senior season.
|What they're saying about Damien Strahorn…|
"Damien is one of the rising stars in our profession. He was an impact player at Colby and when he was on our staff for four years, he proved to be a great recruiter and strong on court presence. Damien will be a significant asset to the Plymouth State Community."
|-- Dick Whitmore|
|39 years as head men's basketball coach at Colby College|
|"I've known Damien since the summer of '01 and his passion for the game of basketball is immeasurable. He has succeeded as a player, and no question he will succeed as a coach. He loves the game too much for things not to work out for him. Damien will not only represent Plymouth State in the most positive of ways, but he will bring out the best in everyone associated with the program. Plymouth State has landed a winner, not only as a basketball coach, but more importantly as a person. As Coach Scheinman would say, "The sky is the limit, for us." Truer words have never been spoken in Plymouth, NH. The program has been passed on to a truly qualified person, and as an alumnus I couldn't be more excited about it."|
|-- Nick Pelotte '05|
|Former PSU Basketball All-America|
"For the past three years I have had the privilege to work alongside Coach Strahorn on the men's basketball coaching staff at Columbia University. Because I have witnessed his coaching, recruiting and teaching ability first-hand, I can say with confidence that Plymouth State is getting a great coach and person to lead the basketball program. Damien's ability to communicate and teach to the players is what will carry on the strong tradition of coaching at PSU. His enthusiasm, knowledge and communication are traits that will build upon the success of Coach Scheinman and Coach Hogan. As a Plymouth State men's basketball alumnus, I am excited for the future of the basketball program but more importantly for the Plymouth State community."
-- Seth Peloso '98
Former PSU Basketball Co-Captain
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