SAINT LEO, Fla. – Head coach Lance Randall and the Saint Leo men's basketball program announced on Tuesday that assistant coach JR Blount has been elevated to associate head coach.
Blount brings a lifetime of playing and coaching experience into his new title. He is entering his third season with the Lions and came to Saint Leo after concluding a successful professional playing career and four years at NCAA Division I Loyola University in Chicago.
"JR has a great understanding of the game and a tremendous work ethic but more importantly he lives our Saint Leo core values every day," Randall said. "As a father and a coach I am grateful this young man is such a strong role model for our players as well as my own children. I know that he will be a superstar in this profession someday."
In his first two seasons at Saint Leo, Blount has helped elevate Saint Leo Men's Basketball into the national spotlight including amassing a 40-20 overall record, two NCAA Tournament appearances and a Sunshine State Conference Regular Season Championship.
"First of all I would like to thank Dr. Kirk, Mr. Reidy and Coach Randall for this remarkable opportunity," Blount said. "Coach Randall has been an outstanding mentor and teacher to me not only through coaching but equally present throughout the facets of my daily life."
He continued, "It is a privilege to be honored with such a distinguished title under great leadership and guidance. I will strive to bring continued success to Saint Leo University and work in the likeness and image of our strong core values."
Blount is also a talented recruiter, using his knowledge of basketball in the Midwest to help rebuild the Saint Leo men's basketball program upon the coaching staff's arrival in 2011. Coach Blount was instrumental in recruiting and developing the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America Marcus Ruh, the Sunshine State Conference Defensive Player of the Year Shaun Adams, and All-Conference players Trent Thomas and Jerrel Harris.
"JR has been instrumental in the turnaround of our basketball program into a conference champion and a national ranking," Director of Athletics Francis X. Reidy said of the Lions' new associate head coach. "The promotion is well deserved for his tireless recruiting, game day preparation and leadership within the program."
After concluding his collegiate playing career, the tandem then coached together on the hardwood at Wisconsin-Stevens Point where, ironically, Randall served as the associate head coach and Blount was an assistant. Together, they managed to take the Pointers to the Division II National Championship.
At Loyola, Blount was the recipient of the Male Athlete of the Year Award twice and finished his career ninth on the school's all-time scoring list and finished 10th in career assists.
Before attending Loyola, Blount was a standout high school basketball player at Whitefish Bay Dominican. Blount was named to the all-conference first team three times and was named a First Team All-State selection twice. He led his team to four consecutive conference championships and won state championships in 2004 and 2005. In his high school career, Blount was named team MVP three times.
With his new role in place, Blount continues to prepare for the 2013-14 season alongside Randall. It will be a year where the Lions look to build on the 2013 Conference Title with more veteran leadership and another impressive recruiting class.