Rhodes athletic director Jeff Cleanthes has announced that Lynx women's basketball coach Matt Dean will step down from his coaching duties at the completion of the 2016-17 season.
Dean will continue to serve in his role as assistant athletic director and oversee the Bryan Campus Life Center and coordinate student employment in the athletic department.
"Matt has been an amazing coach and role model for not only the women's basketball team but for our entire athletic department the past 27 years as both the head women's basketball coach for 15 years and assistant men's coach for 12 years under the legendary coach, Herb Hilgeman," says Cleanthes. "We will all miss "Deano" on the court but we are all excited to see what the next chapter in his professional life brings him. Matt has always been a wonderful mentor for his athletes and the younger coaching staff and we are blessed to have him in his new role where he can have even a bigger impact in this capacity moving forward."
In his 15 years as women's basketball coach at Rhodes, Dean has led the Lynx to a 230-164 overall record for a career winning percentage of (.585). Dean is currently the longest tenured women's basketball head coach in the Southern Athletic Association, and is the all-time winningest coach in Rhodes women's basketball history.
The Lynx made history from 2012-15, as they advanced to the NCAA Tournament three consecutive years. In 2012-13 and 2013-14 the Lynx finished both seasons at 25-4 overall and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament on each occasion. The 25 wins each year has set a school record for wins in a season and the women's program received their first ever NCAA bid in 2012-13. Each year the Lynx have hosted NCAA Tournament regionals in historic Mallory Gymnasium.
The Lynx advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2013 after an exciting 59-58 win over Louisiana College on March 1, 2013 before a packed house at Mallory Gymnasium. The Lynx fell short in the 2nd round to Washington U. 78-75. In 2014 the Lynx again advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after defeating Spalding 83-59 on March 7, 2014. The Lynx lost to UT-Tyler Texas in the second round 77-74.
In 2013-14 Rhodes was ranked as high as 15th nationally and finished the year ranked 22nd by D3hoops.com. The Lynx were ranked in the top 25 in the D3hoops.com poll 12 out of the 13 weeks this season. Dean was also recognized by his peers in 13-14, being named SAA Coach of the Year. In those two seasons the Lynx had an overall record of 50-8 (.862).
Prior to the 12-13 season Dean's teams twice tied the school record for most wins in a season. In 2005-06 the Lynx finished 18-8 overall advancing to the semifinals of the SCAC tournament. In 2011-12 the Lynx finished 18-8 overall, advanced to the semifinals of the SCAC tournament and enjoyed an eight game winning streak in the latter part of the schedule. In 2002-03 Dean was named Co-SCAC Coach of the Year after the Lynx finished 15-9 and third in the SCAC.
In his 15 seasons as Lynx head women's basketball coach, Dean has coached six of the top nine scorers in school history, recruited and coached four All-Americans (Taylor Cook, Ashley Farrell, Sharwil Bell and Lauren Avant) and recruited and coached the leading rebounder in school history (Bailey Kramer). Dean also coached and recruited the career assist leader in Lynx history and the single season assist leader (Sarah Johnson) and the single season three point field goal leader (Becky Atnip). In 2013-14, senior guard Lauren Avant was runner-up for the WBCA DIII National Player-of-the-Year Award.