Classes started Monday for the LeMoyne-Owen Magicians and their first men’s basketball game is scheduled for November 2, an exhibition against the University of Memphis. Everything should be coming up roses.
However, there is an issue the team needs to take care of before the start of fall practice. They need to find a new head coach.
Former head coach Bonzi Wells left after two successful seasons to join the staff of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Wells, an NBA veteran, was a teammate of current head coach and former Memphis Tiger’s assistant coach, Damon Stoudamire.
Wells in his first season finished with a 16-12 record and in his second season had an 18-11 record at LOC. He had assembled a very nice recruiting class for this season. According to Athletic Director William Anderson, the class will be left in the capable hands of assistant coaches Wade Evans and Jerel Jernigan.
“Bonzi meant a lot to the program in a variety of ways,” Anderson said. “He brought a sense of respectability, a wealth of knowledge and definitely moved the program in a good direction.”
Anderson Acknowledged the importance to Wells of moving from a Division 2 school to a power-five program.
“That is big not only for him. Other people can look at even though we are a Division 2 school, if you go there and have success, there are others that will take a look at you.”
Evans, a former prep standout in Memphis has been on the staff for the last several years and understands the process of how the league and the program should operate.
As for the timeline on getting a new person to run the team, Anderson said, “We don’t want to rush. We want to take our time to get the right person. We know it is late in the season. I am confident in Evans and Jernigan. They were instrumental in bringing in a really good class.”
Anderson knows that there is much speculation about the next coach, including the possibilities of Antonio Harris, the current head coach at Booker T. Washington, and Andre Turner, the head coach at Lane College.
“It is a possibility. They are both great candidates,” Anderson said. “I have a lot of respect for them. They would do a great job in leading our program.”