Strickland Named Tiger Basketball Director Of Operations
Aug. 26, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After hiring two new assistant coaches in the early portion of the summer, University of Memphis head coach John Calipari announced Tuesday that he has finished rounding out his staff for the 2008-09 season. Rod Strickland has been elevated to Director of Basketball Operations, while Lamont Peterson, Bilal Batley and Jason Walberg all are additions to the staff.
Peterson's position is the program's Administrative Assistant, while Batley is Assistant Director of Operations/Manager and Walberg is Assistant to the Recruiting Coordinator/Manager. All three are non-benefit, eight-month appointments.
The changes occurred this past spring after Chuck Martin and Derek Kellogg took head coaching positions at Marist and UMass, respectively. Tyrone Weeks (Tigers' Director of Basketball Operations for 2007-08) joined Chuck Martin's staff as an assistant coach, and Andy Allison (Assistant Director of Basketball Operations) and Shyrone Chatman (Assistant to the Recruiting Coordinator) moved to Amherst, Mass., to be on Kellogg's basketball operations staff.
"I'm ecstatic for Rod, and he deserves this promotion," said Calipari. "Rod has been with us through our last two successful runs we've had, and it's good for the program to have that stability and continuity.
"Lamont, Bilal and Jason each brings something different to the program. Lamont gives us maturity, while Bilal and Jason both bring a high energy and high-work capacity to their two spots."
Strickland, who joined the Memphis basketball family in the summer of 2006, was promoted to Director of Basketball Operations from his previous position as Director of Student-Athlete Development. In his new role, Strickland is in charge in several "behind-the-scenes" areas for the Tiger program, among them monitoring the student-athletes' academic progress, assisting with travel plans and coordinating recruits' on-campus visits.
Strickland's time with the Tiger program has been quite a successful ride. During his two years on the Memphis bench, the Tigers posted an amazing 71-6 record (.922 winning percentage), won back-to-back Conference USA regular season and tournament titles and reached the 2007 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight and 2008 NCAA Tournament championship game. The 71 wins are the second-most by a program in NCAA Division I basketball over a two-year span (Montana State won 72 games from 1928-29).
This past year, Memphis set an NCAA Division I record and a school mark for victories in a single season with 38 wins (38-2 record). The Tigers swept the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles and won the NCAA Tournament South Region crown en route to the NCAA Tournament championship game. Memphis' run to the Final Four was the program's first since 1985 and the NCAA title game appearance was its first since 1973.
Peterson joins the Memphis basketball program after working the last three years as Director of Discipline at American Christian School in Philadelphia, Pa. He also worked with the strength and conditioning program at American Christian. Outside of his duties at the school, Peterson served as a personal trainer, working with several Philadelphia area athletes such as Kyle Lowery (Villanova University/NBA's Memphis Grizzlies), Sean Singletary (University of Virginia/NBA's Sacramento Kings), Crystal Langhorne (University of Maryland/WNBA's Washington Mystics), Mustafa Shakur (University of Arizona), Wayne Ellington (University of North Carolina), Gerald Henderson (Duke University) and Tyreke Evans (University of Memphis).
This past summer, Peterson served as an assistant coach for the United States team in the 2008 Junior World Championships in Douai, France. The U.S. squad won silver at the tournament.
Batley takes over the spot as Assistant Director of Basketball Operations/Manager, while also continuing graduate studies toward a master's degree in Sports and Leisure Commerce. A 2007 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Batley comes to Memphis after a year as a graduate manager at Indiana University. Prior to Indiana, the Houston, Texas, native served as a student manager at Oklahoma for two seasons and as a student assistant at Navarro College for three years.
For seven summers, Batley worked as an assistant coach/personal assistant at the John Lucas Pre-Draft Camp in Houston.
Walberg comes to Memphis as the Assistant to the Recruiting Coordinator/Manager after completing his collegiate playing career at Pepperdine last season. In two seasons in Malibu, Walberg averaged 9.8 points, 2.6 assists and 2.1 rebounds. He played in 22 career games for the Waves and started seven. Before transferring to Pepperdine, the Fresno, Calif., native spent two years (2004-05, 2005-06) at Saint Mary's.
In the 2004-05 campaign, Walberg played in all 34 games and made 20 starts. He averaged 4.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists in helping lead the Gaels to the NCAA Tournament. Walberg played only four minutes of Saint Mary's NCAA Tournament first-round game versus Southern Illinois, suffering a knee injury that forced him to redshirt the 2005-06 season. Earlier in the 2004-05 season, Walberg scored 11 points in an 81-66 loss to Memphis in the Coaches vs. Cancer semifinal in New York City.
Walberg earned his bachelor's degree in Communications from Saint Mary's in 2006 and his master's degree in Educational Technology from Pepperdine in 2007.
The Tigers' grand-opening to the 2008-09 season - Memphis Madness - is scheduled for Oct. 17 at FedExForum.