MORROW, Ga. -- The Clayton State Department of Athletics and Athletic Director Carl McAloose announced the hiring of Paul Harrison today as the program's new men's basketball coach.
Harrison, a native of Larchmont, NY, most recently served as the associate head coach at NCAA Division I Wofford College and becomes the fourth coach in the 23-year history of the Laker men's basketball program.
"I am thrilled for the opportunity to lead the men's basketball program at Clayton State University and would like to thank President Tim Hynes, Athletic Director Carl McAloose and the search committee for trusting me with this task," said Harrison. "My family and I look forward to getting started."
McAloose echoed Harrison's excitement, "We are thrilled to have Paul Harrison emerge from an outstanding group of candidates to become the next head men's basketball coach at Clayton State. Paul has done an incredible job of recruiting and developing young men in the classroom, on the court and in the community."
For six years, Harrison has served as the associate head coach at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, under head coach Mike Young after coaching several years alongside legendary former head coach John Kresse at the College of Charleston.
"At the beginning of the search process, I called coach Kresse and asked him who is the next Greg Marshall (a former assistant under Kresse and now head coach at Wichita State) and without hesitation he said Paul Harrison," said McAloose. "Paul brings to us a great deal of excitement, basketball knowledge and contacts. We both have the same vision of building a great academic and basketball environment that will enable us to prepare our student-athletes for graduation and compete for national championships."
Harrison served as the associate head coach at Wofford for six years and helped build the Terriers into a top men's basketball program in the Southern Conference. In two short seasons, he helped lead Wofford to its first winning season at the NCAA Division I level and to four straight winning seasons. From 2009 to 2011, the Terriers posted back-to-back 20 win seasons, the first time for Wofford in over 40 years.
"Paul has done an unbelievable job at Wofford over the last six years," said Terrier head coach Young. "He has been responsible for a great deal of our success. He is an excellent coach and recruiter and Clayton State basketball got better today. I'm thrilled for him and his family and know he will do a great job."
Wofford's top season came in 2009-10 when the squad finished with a 26-9 record, winning the Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles. The Terriers advanced to their first NCAA Division I national tournament, falling to Wisconsin 53-49. The squad beat both Georgia and South Carolina that season and won 22 of its last 25 games.
The program also advanced to the NCAA Division I national tournament in 2011 after posting a 21-13 record, tying for first in the South Division of the Southern Conference and winning the 2011 Southern Conference Tournament. The Terriers faced BYU in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, falling to Cougars 74-66.
While coaching at the College of Charleston as an assistant and as a graduate assistant, Harrison was part of four 20-win seasons, several conference and conference tournament championships and two trips to the NCAA Division I national tournament.
"Paul worked as an assistant at the College of Charleston for four years and did a tremendous job in teaching, recruiting and mentoring our players," said Kresse. "We were successful because Paul was a real professional in handling his duties and responsibilities. I feel like Clayton State has hit a home run with the hiring of Paul Harrison."
In addition to his coaching experience at Wofford and at the College of Charleston, Harrison also served as an assistant coach at Southeastern Louisiana and as an assistant at Long Island University.
Harrison, 41, attained a law degree from Tulane University in 2004 and graduated from Washington & Lee University with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1993. He and his wife, Heather, have two children, Grace (10) and Henry (8).
He takes over the Clayton State program after head coach Gordon Gibbons resigned after 12 years as the Laker men's coach.