James Strong begins his second season as an assistant coach for
Belmont Basketball in 2012-13.
Strong made an immediate impact last season, as his contributions in everything from scouting reports and winning attitude to defense and guard development helped Belmont reach a fifth NCAA Tournament in the seven years. In particular, Strong’s expertise in guard play led to Belmont having three First Team All-Atlantic Sun selections - Ian Clark, Drew Hanlen, and Kerron Johnson; it is believed to be the first time that three guards from the same team in any conference have been named first team all-conference in the same year. Johnson also added Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP and NABC All-District honors, while Clark was named Mid- Major Defensive All-American and Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year.
Strong spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach at Furman; he was named associate head coach prior to the 2010-11 season.
“James’ experience as a player and coach, as well as his success as associate head coach at Furman allowed him to begin contributing immediately to all aspects of our program,” Coach Byrd said. “Our players have a great deal of respect for James. He has enhanced our basketball program on the floor and in recruiting. And, most importantly, he enhances Belmont University and our athletic department with the personal character that he brings to our campus. We are really glad to have him on board.”
The Paladins just completed one of their finest seasons in program history, posting a 22-11 record and earning an invitation to the 2011 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament – the program’s first postseason appearance since 1991.
Furman’s 22 victories marked the second-highest single-season win total in school history, and most in 30 years. Perhaps most notably, the Paladins defeated Southeastern Conference member, South Carolina, 91-75, and won at eventual Southern Conference Tournament champion, Wofford. Furman senior Amu Saaka earned All-SoCon honors.
Strong shouldered great responsibility at Furman, including on-the-floor teaching, player development, scouting and recruiting.
Strong is no stranger to the middle Tennessee area, having spent a decade as a student-athlete and coach at Vanderbilt University. Strong was a four-year letterwinner for the Commodores on the hardwood (1997-2000), leading Vanderbilt to three postseason appearances. As a junior, Strong led the SEC and established a Vanderbilt single-season record in steals (77). He ranks fourth on the Commodores’ career steals list (209) and served as team captain as a senior.
Belmont associate head coach Brian Ayers coached Strong at Vanderbilt during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
The Huntsville, Ala. native then spent six seasons on Kevin Stallings’ coaching staff at Vanderbilt (2001-06), before heading to Furman.
Strong earned a bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt in 2000.
He and his wife, Tami, have two children: Kayla and JP.