Delta State hires Nienaber as men's basketball coach

One of NCAA Division II's most successful head coaches is set to take over the Delta State University Men's Basketball program, as Director of Athletics Mike Kinnison announced Mike Nienaber as the 16th head coach of the Statesmen today.

Nienaber comes to DSU after a highly decorated run as head coach at Christian Brothers University, where he won two Gulf South Conference championships, made five trips to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the 2009 NCAA Division II Elite Eight. His 593 career wins rank 11th among all active NCAA Division II head coaches.

"Delta State University has a rich basketball tradition, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be its head coach," Nienaber said. "From the days of John Ray Ricks and Steve Rives, the Statesmen have always been tough on the court and I believe our brand of basketball will be fun to watch. I want to thank President Bill LaForge and Mike Kinnison for the chance to add my mark to that legacy."

Nienaber will be introduced to the campus and the community on Thursday, May 9 at 11 AM in the Arant Family Meeting Room at Chadwick-Dickson Fieldhouse. The public is invited to attend.

"When I started this search, I listed the qualities of the next head coach of our program out on a card," Kinnison said. "I wanted someone that had unquestioned character and leadership, coached with an intensity of purpose, had a successful track record on the court and would be a fit in our departmental culture. Mike Nienaber immediately rose to the top and we're pleased he has accepted the opportunity here at Delta State."

Known as one of the top "Princeton" offensive coaches in the country, Nienaber has spent the last 20 years as head coach at Christian Brothers University in Memphis. During his time with the Bucs, Nienaber amassed a 351-224 record while winning two GSC regular season championships, two GSC Tournament titles, and the 2009 NCAA South Regional Championship.

The Cincinnati, Ohio native has been named the GSC Coach of the Year three times and was the recipient of the 2009 National Association of Basketball Coaches South Region Coach of the Year honor.

Nienaber has coached four All-Americans, two GSC Players of the Year, 27 All-GSC players, 24 Academic All-GSC players, seven GSC Freshmen of the Year and a combined 18 NABC and Daktronics All-Region picks. He coached Nick Kohs to a unanimous First-Team All-America selection in 2008-09 as well as GSC and South Region Player of the Year honors. Scott Dennis was an NABC All-American in 2011-12, also earning a share of the GSC Player of the Year award. Trey Casey was a two-time First Team Academic All-America, including the Academic All-America of the Year award in 2014-15. Adam Dieball, a three-time All-GSC selection, ended his career in 2018-19 as one of CBU's most decorated student-athletes.

The Bucs have appeared in the NABC Top 25 Poll in 11 of the last 14 seasons.

Nienaber's 351 wins are the most ever recorded by a coach at CBU and rank as the fifth highest total in the GSC's illustrious history. His 242 wins in 16 seasons at Bethel College in McKenzie, Tenn., were the all-time record before he left for CBU.

Nienaber arrived at CBU in time for the 1999-2000 season after 16 successful years at Bethel. His teams were known for their tenacity on the court, as the Wildcats claimed victories over numerous highly ranked NAIA opponents including David Lipscomb, Belmont, and Union, as well as top-flight NCAA programs at Northern Kentucky, North Alabama, and Tennessee State.

In addition to successes on the hardwood, Nienaber's players also earned plenty of individual recognition at Bethel, coaching five NAIA All-Americans, 22 All-Conference selections, and nine NAIA Academic All-Americans. The academic success of his players is further reflected by the 87.5% graduation rate during his 16 years at Bethel. In recognition of the accomplishments of his teams on and off the floor, coach Nienaber was inducted into the Bethel College Athletic Hall of Fame in November 2002.

A 1977 graduate of Mississippi College, Nienaber holds a bachelor's and master's degree in History and a Master of Arts degree in Education from Murray State University. While at Mississippi College, he lettered four years under coach Doug Hines, where he played point guard.

Nienaber and his wife Vickie have two sons, Michael and Eddie.

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