Murry Bartow filled the vacant slots on his coaching staff on Friday.
Bob Bolen, a highly-successful head coach at Mountain State University, and Thomas Carr, an assistant at various schools, will take the positions left by longtime assistants Mike Boyd and Scott Wagers.
“Most importantly, both Bob and Thomas have coached their respective teams at a high level,” Bartow said. “They are good people and have the ability to communicate well with their players, which is incredibly important. When it comes to recruiting, they both have the right personalities for the job. I wanted guys who were wired to wake up in the morning and think about recruiting. They both fit that perfectly.”
Bolen coached 19 seasons at Mountain State in Beckley, W. Va. During that span, Bolen’s teams combined for a 487-123 record and were ranked No. 1 in the NAIA 51 times since 2000 and consistently among the top NAIA offenses. The Cougars were the first-ever NAIA team to finish No. 1 in the poll three consecutive years (2004, ’05 and ’06)
“What Bob did at Mountain State was really impressive,” Bartow said. “He is highly respected throughout the coaching ranks, and what he did both as a recruiter and in player development was something we wanted to bring to ETSU.”
Bolen restarted the MSU program, which was eliminated after the 1977 season, when he arrived in 1993. His teams were ranked in the top five in the NAIA in scoring for 17 consecutive seasons.
Mountain State won the NAIA championship in 2004, beating California’s Concordia University 74-70 for the title, The Cougars played in four NAIA national championships, five ‘final fours,’ five ‘elite eights,’ six ‘sweet 16 rounds’ and qualified for the national tournament 14 consecutive years (1999-2012).
MSU went 38-1 in 2004 and Bolen was named national coach of the year by the NAIA, Basketball Times and the West Virginia AP. He had the best record of any college from 2003-2012 with an 88 percent winning percentage (308-42).
Bolen, who was also the NABC coach of the year in 2010, was named an NAIA region coach of the year 14 times.
“I’m really excited to be here and be part of the ETSU basketball tradition,” Bolen said. “It’s a privilege to be part of coach Bartow’s staff, and I’m ready to do whatever Coach Bartow asks to make this program better — whether that’s providing input on how to make our offense better, or sweeping the floor before practice.”
Bolen graduated from Bluefield State in 1986 and later earned a master’s from West Virginia.
Carr was a standout guard at Pfeiffer University and earned a degree in 2008. He later coached as an assistant at Chipola College (2009-10) and Hargrave Military Academy (2010-11), before spending the 2012-13 season as head coach at George Washington High School in Danville, Va.
“Thomas has great people skills and is a really good communicator,” Bartow said. “His players love him, and I was really impressed when I watched his teams play and saw his interaction with his players. He is extremely well connected from a recruiting standpoint, and we believe he can certainly make our program better.”
Carr played a year at Hargrave Military Academy after graduating from St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio, in 2003. The 2003-04 Hargrave team was the top-ranked prep squad in the nation and finished the year at national champs. He served as captain his senior year at Pfeiffer and was second in the nation in 3-point field goals made that year. “To be so young and to have this opportunity to work for coach Bartow — one of the most respected coaches in the country — is definitely something I’m looking forward to taking advantage of,” Carr said. “I pride myself on making players better, and it will be my goal with each of our players to make them as good as they can be individually, because that is a key to making our team better.”
He began his coaching career under current Samford assistant Jake Hendrick at Chipola and worked for current Louisville assistant Kevin Keatts at Hargrave. As a head coach, Carr’s George Washington High School team went 25-3, finished ranked 15th in Virginia and led the state in points per game (88). Carr was named the Western Valley District coach of the year in 2012-13.