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Bob Bolen is entering his first season with the ETSU men’s basketball program, having joined the Buccaneers as an assistant coach in June of 2013.
Prior to coming to Johnson City, Bolen spent 19 seasons as a highly successful head coach at Mountain State University in Beckley, W.Va. During that time span, Bolen’s teams combined for an impressive 487-123 record and his squads consistently ranked as some of the country’s most offensively dynamic teams at the NAIA level.
“What Bob did at Mountain State was really impressive,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “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. He’s a great person with a wonderful family, and I think he is a great addition to our program.
Bolen said he looks forward to helping ETSU succeed, especially on the offensive end.
“During my time at Mountain State, we were ranked in the Top 5 nationally in scoring for 17 straight seasons,” Bolen said. “I enjoyed coaching transition and early-offense basketball, and that’s what I hope I can bring to this program.”
Bolen arrived at Mountain State University in 1993 to rebuild a basketball program which had been terminated following the 1977 season. Under his guidance, the Cougars rose to the top of the NAIA in basketball.
In 2004, MSU became National Champions with a 74-70 victory over California's Concordia University in the NAIA tournament. Bolen was named the 2004 NAIA National Coach of the Year, 2004 Basketball Times National Coach of the Year, and 2004 West Virginia AP College Coach of the Year. He was also named the 2010 NABC National Coach of the year.
Bolen also accumulated the best record of any college coach in the United States over the from 2003 to 2012, with a record of 308-42 (an 88 percent winning percentage). In all, Bolen's Cougars won 487 games in 18 seasons, averaging over 27 wins a year. MSU had the best record, 38-1, of any college team in the country during the 2003-04 campaign.
Bolen was selected as the NAIA Independent Region Coach of the year 14 times and MSU played in four NAIA national championship games, five “final fours,” five "elite eights,” six "sweet 16" rounds, and qualified for the National Tournament 14 consecutive years (1999-2012). The Cougars were ranked No. 1 in the country 51 times since 2000, and MSU finished No. 1 in the final poll for three consecutive years (2004, ’05, and ’06). This is the first time in NAIA history that this feat has been accomplished.
Under Bolen's tutelage, 26 former players have continued on to successful professional basketball careers.
Bolen, who graduated from Bluefield State College (‘86) and later earned a master’s in communications from West Virginia University (’93), is married to the former Lisa Toler. They have 3 children; Katie (15), Jaysen (12), and Andrew (10).
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