GREENWOOD – Former Lander assistant coach and player Steve Roberts was named the Bearcats' next head men's basketball coach today, announced Jeff May, Vice President/Athletics Director.
"We are excited to welcome Steve back to his Lander family," said May. "I am confident that he will do good things for our basketball program."
Lander President Dr. Dan Ball is equally confident.
"I know Steve Roberts and I have watched him coach," said Ball. "I know him as a person, a family man and a father. He will be a welcome member of the Lander Family and he will be a great basketball coach."
Roberts, who graduated from Lander in 1984, spent the past season as an assistant coach under Gregg Nibert at Presbyterian following a 13-year stint as Lander's assistant.
"I'm very humbled and honored to be coming home," said Roberts. "This is the role I have been preparing for since I came on the Lander campus in 1980.
"I look forward to mentoring our current and future players, passing along knowledge and aiding in their development to help them realize their goals. I would like to make a similar impact that (former Lander coach) Coach Finis Horne had on me starting 35 years ago, and still today. I expect our players to have a positive impact in our basketball program, on Lander's campus, and the community of Greenwood."
Nibert was very complimentary of Roberts as he takes over the Lander program.
"Steve has been a tremendous asset to our program," said Nibert. "He brought a wealth of experience and loyalty to me and this program. He is a great friend and an even better person. I wish him well and know that he will succeed as Lander's next head basketball coach."
A four-year letterman (1980-84), he graduated from Lander in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education. While playing for Lander University, the then-Senators averaged 19 wins a season. Roberts is currently third in most games played in a career at Lander with 125 games.
Roberts, the 2013 Lakelands FCA Coach of the Year, is in his 28th year of coaching at the collegiate level. He started his career as a graduate assistant at Winthrop University under Neild Gordon. Roberts coached at North Greenville College for one season before joining the staff at then-USC Spartanburg. In 1990-91, the Rifles advanced to the NAIA National Tournament and finished fifth in the country with a record of 29-3. The following season, 1991-92, Roberts helped lead the Rifles to the inaugural Peach Belt Championship, a berth in the NCAA Tournament and a No. 7 final national ranking. After four seasons at USCS, Roberts worked as an LU assistant for his former coach, Finis Horne .
Since 1994, Roberts has had the opportunity to be an assistant coach at Mars Hill College, Coastal Carolina University and Campbell University before returning to Mars Hill in 1999 as the head coach. After three seasons at Mars Hill, Roberts returned to Lander as an assistant for Coach Chipper Bagwell. Roberts has the distinction of being the only person to work for all four previous head coaches in the history of the men's basketball program at Lander.
The Greenville native is married to the former Dana Lam of Waynesboro, Va., and they have two children, Matthew, 20, and Luke, 18.
"There are so many people who have had a great influence on me to reach this point," added Roberts, "especially my wife, my parents, my friends, the coaches I worked with and the players I have coached. I am extremely grateful to President Ball and VP/AD Jeff May for providing me the tremendous opportunity to give back to the University where I have spent some of the fondest years of my life."