Marshall Names Ron Jirsa Men's Basketball Coach
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University Director of Athletics Bob Marcum announced the hiring of Ron Jirsa as the school’s new men’s basketball coach, today.
“I was impressed with his genuineness,” Marshall University President Dan Angel said. “I believe the community will truly enjoy him and I am excited about having him as our basketball coach.”
Jirsa, 43, who had taken an assistant coaching position at Clemson in April from Dayton where he was senior assistant coach for four years, brings 22 years of collegiate coaching experience to Marshall, including 15 years at the NCAA Division I level.
“I’m excited that Ron is going to join us here at Marshall,” Marcum said. “He represents the criteria that we developed for the job. He has head coaching experience at the highest collegiate level and he is recognized as an outstanding recruiter throughout the coaching profession by the likes of Tubby Smith, George Felton, Oliver Purnell, and others.
“I believe our fans will be as pleased as I am to have him at the helm of our men’s basketball program. I want to thank everyone involved with the search process for helping make this happen; from Larry Tweel, our Big Green President, to Bob Bookwalter our Faculty Athletic Representative.”
Prior to taking the assistant position at Clemson, Jirsa, served under Oliver Purnell at the University of Dayton. During his stint at UD, the Flyers posted an 88-39 overall record, made two NCAA Tournament and two NIT appearances. Last season, Dayton posted a 24-6 record, won the Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship, advanced to the NCAA Tournament as a number four seed, and finished ranked among the Top 25 teams in the nation in the final Associated Press and USA Today polls.
“Marshall just got a very fine basketball coach who is solid in every way,” Purnell said. “Success has followed him every where he has been and it will continue to.”
Jirsa served as head coach at the University of Georgia from 1997 to 1999 and his squads posted a combined 35-30 record. During his tenure in Athens, the Bulldogs put together back-to-back recruiting classes that were rated among the top five in the nation by several recruiting analysts. His teams made two NIT appearances. In his first season, UGA posted a 20-15 record, only the seventh 20-win season in UGA history.
He served as associate head coach under Tubby Smith at Georgia and as an assistant at Tulsa. In each of these stops he filled a variety of roles from recruiting coordinator to game planning and coaching. Overall, he has been part of nine NCAA Tournament berths, including his last four seasons as an assistant under Smith.
“I am so proud of Ron. Marshall has gotten a coach with tremendous work ethic and values that is a proven winner,” Smith said. “ He has cut his teeth at places like VCU and worked his way up the ladder. He has a great eye for talent, having recruited players like Jumaine Jones and D.A. Layne, and he will be very successful at Marshall. His personality and dedication will set him apart.”
Jirsa began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Connecticut College following his graduation from Gettysburg College in 1981. Two years later, he moved on to the University of Delaware and spent one season with the Blue Hens before taking a graduate assistant position with a Virginia Commonwealth program that finished ranked 11th in the nation in 1984-85.
He then took an assistant position at Tulsa for three seasons (1985-88) under J.D. Barnett before making one year stops at Belmont Abbey (1988-89), and Gardner-Webb (1990-91). In 1991 he returned to Tulsa as an assistant under Tubby Smith before being promoted to associate head coach at the school in 1994. From there, Jirsa followed Smith to Georgia where he served as associate head coach from 1995 to 1997.
“I am excited about the opportunity I have been given by Dr. Angel and Bob Marcum,” Jirsa said. “This is a program with tradition and unlimited potential. I got a very good feeling from the people I met that represented the university and I am looking forward to joining the Marshall and Huntington communities.”
Jirsa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Gettysburg College in 1981 and a Master of Arts in Athletic Administration from the University of Tulsa in 1987. He was a three-sport letterwinner at Ledyard High School in Ledyard, Connecticut. He and his wife Laura have one daughter, Hannah (2).