Ada — The East Central University athletics department has announced the hiring of Matt Cole as the new head women’s basketball coach. The announcment came via e-mail Monday afternoon.
Cole becomes just the fourth head coach in the program history dating back to 1956.
“There is a strong tradition of success within the ECU women's basketball program. Our search focused on candidates who embodied excellence, recognized the ability to build upon the program's momentum and had the experience to lead this program to the NCAA tournament,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Jeff Williams. “Matt Cole rose to the top of a list of highly qualified coaches. Not only has he been successful on the court, but his teams have excelled academically with a 100 percent graduation rate at NSU. Matt Cole will be an inspiring coach and educator and we are proud to welcome him to the Tiger family."
“We are excited to have coach Cole become the fourth head women’s basketball coach since 1956,” stated ECU President John Hargrave. “We are confident he will continue the excellence in this program.”
Cole replaces Kent Franz, who held the job from 1991 to 2012. Franz was arrested last September on suspicion of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. Emily Holombek coached the Lady Tigers for the entire 2012-13 season on an interim basis.
Mary McPhee was the women's coach from 1956 to 1982 before Eldon Flinn took over from 1982 to 1991.
“To come to East Central as just the fourth head coach in the history of the program is an honor,” said Matt Cole. “I look forward to the challenges ahead and plan to continue the strong tradition of the ECU women’s basketball program.”
Cole has spent the last 11 years as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Northeastern State where he helped the RiverHawks to seven NCAA Tournaments, including two Sweet 16 appearances.