NEW HEAD COACH, NEW ASSISTANTS
Sept. 23, 2008
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - Ever since the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Head Men’s Basketball Coach Frankie Allen took the helm of the struggling program, he has been making changes. Retaining the services of just one of last years assistant coaches, Shawn "Redd" Smith, Allen hired three fresh faces to the staff. Joining the Fighting Hawks for the 2008-09 season as assistants coaches are G. Jamal Brown and Mike Blaine with Nicholas Robinson coming on board as the graduate assistant.
"Jamal is an excellent assistant coach," said Allen. "He has outstanding people skills, which I think are first and foremost, but he is also a very knowledgeable basketball coach."
With 10 years experience coaching at the Division I level, Brown brings a wealth of knowledge to the program. His coaching career began at his alma mater South Carolina State University where he was a standout player before becoming assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator from 1997-2003. Brown was responsible for recruiting four South Carolina State Players of the Year. He then moved on to become the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Tennessee State University for two seasons starting in 2003-04 where he worked closely with the team’s Academic Advisor in ensuring 80 percent of the team had a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Brown then returned to S.C. State to fill the head coaching roll for the 2006-07 season before joining the UMES team this year.
He has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, Marketing and is pursuing his Master’s in Sports Administration in 1997.
Blaine was a standout athlete at Johns Hopkins University having been nationally ranked in field goal percentage defense for three straight years. As a competitive player with a team whose four year record was 67-34, he was a part of the monumental win over Navy, the first time in school history.
"Mike is a very detailed person," said Allen. "He’s solid in all the basic areas so he can work with both guards and post players."
Upon graduating from Hopkins, Blaine continued his involvement with basketball by accepting positions as the director of men’s basketball operations with James Madison University and then the United States Military Academy. He jumped into coaching by taking on assistant coach responsibilities at Radford University and Hampden-Sydney College before signing on with UMES.
Robinson comes to UMES after having served as the head coach of Team Final, a 14 and under team based out of Philadelphia, Pa. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Magna cum Laude, as a double major, he served as the Director of Operations for Five-Star Basketball where he oversaw camp staffing and coordinated the verification of McDonald’s All-American Candidates.
"Nick was someone that was well recommended by the people who run the prestigious five star basketball camp," said Allen. "He has a strong work ethic and attention to detail."
As an assistant coach for Concordia College (Bronxville, N.Y.), Robinson evaluated and recruited potential players and implemented new offensive plays before moving on to an assistant coaching position with American Christian Academy and Prep School (Aston, Pa.) where he amassed a 29-7 record.
This marks Shawn Smith’s second year with the Fighting Hawks. A Philadelphia native, he played at Simon Gratz High School, winning a National Championship in both 1991 and 1993 teaming with NBA star Rasheed Wallace.
In college, Smith played at LaSalle University where he averaged 10 points and six assists per game while tallying almost two steals per contest.
"I’ve never in the past kept someone when I took over a program,” said Allen speaking of Smith’s return. “He interacts well with the players. And in terms of working with our point guards, I don’t think I could have found a better coach if I had searched far and wide."
Allen and his new staff will show off their new team when the Hawks host "Hawk Hysteria" a kick-off to the upcoming season on October 17, 2008.