Getting to Know Figger & Spradlin
(St. Louis, MO) – Matt Figger and Preston Spradlin are the two latest members of the Ohio Valley Conference coaching fraternity. Morehead State’s Spradlin became the Eagles’ interim head coach midway through last season and Figger replaced the retiring Dave Loos at Austin Peay, this past offseason.
As you would expect the two first-time head coaches are excited about the opportunity to head up a Division 1 program after working for some of the biggest names in college basketball in John Calipari (Spradlin) and Frank Martin (Figger).
Those two have seen big time success in an ‘up close and personal’ kind of way. Reproducing that kind of success as a head coach in the OVC may be a bigger challenge than being a part of an already successful system in a ‘money conference’ program, but both men are full of vision and expectation.
Figger spent ten years working with Martin at Kansas State and at South Carolina. He was part that Gamecock staff that went to last year’s Final Four. While on Martin’s staff Figger was a part of five NCAA Tournaments (Martin’s teams were 10-5 in those appearances) and was a part of recruiting some elite level talent.
Spradlin worked under Calipari in that wildly successful Kentucky program. During his five seasons in Lexington the Cats went to four NCAA Tournaments, with three of those appearances reaching the Final Four. In 2012 Kentucky won Calipari’s only national championship.
With those significant resumes as assistants, Figger and Spradlin are perfectly aligned for head coaching success. Spradlin led the Eagles to a 12-9 record during his interim role last season.
Both coaches say they are excited about beginning a full season as a head coach but admit there are lessons to learn and a lot of players to get to know.
All coaches across America are excited at this time of year, but one thing Spradlin likes is that his players seem to be having fun and enjoying playing the game of basketball. Figger meanwhile, says he likes the make up of his team. He believes the Governors will be deep and dangerous in the paint.
Both first year coaches have great respect for the OVC. Each man talked about OVC history and how difficult it can be to navigate the conference schedule.
Obviously neither coach wanted to start the season with a pushover. Morehead State, who played Kentucky in the ‘Kentucky Cares Hurricane Relief Exhibition’, opens the season on the road at seventeenth ranked Xavier. Austin Peay travels to Nashville for a contest with the Southeastern Conference’s Vanderbilt Commodores. Both openers are Friday (November 10) night.
Editor: Video courtesy of OVC Sports.