Chipola Coach Jumps to D-1

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MARIANNA—Chipola College men’s basketball coach Greg Heiar will be leaving Chipola to take an assistant coaching job at the University of Southern Mississippi. He will serve under head coach Larry Eustachy. USM is a member of Conference USA.

Heiar will have some familiar faces on the USM roster, as two of his top Chipola players—Torye Pelham and Gary Flowers—signed with USM earlier this year.

Coach Heiar led Chipola to four state championships in five seasons at the helm of the Indians program, compiling a 165-15 career record. Last year, his Indians finished third in the 2009 NJCAA national tournament. He guided the Indians to seventh place in the 2008 National Tournament. His 2008 Indians also set a school record for most wins in a season, finishing with a 35-2 mark. In 2007, Coach Heiar and the Indians finished second in the National Tournament.

Coach Heiar said, “When I was 27 years old, Dr. Prough gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to coach the Chipola Indians. I’m so appreciative to all the folks who have helped get our program to the national level. Marianna and Jackson County is a fabulous place to live and raise a family. Chipola is a fine institution with great traditions, and I’m thankful for the part I was able to play in continuing those traditions.”

Chipola president Dr. Gene Prough, said, “We are very pleased that coach Heiar will have the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a Division 1 basketball coach. We wish him and his family the best.”

Prough said the process of hiring a new head coach will begin within the next two weeks and that the athletic director and community will be involved in the process. “Right now, our primary concern is taking care of the student-athletes who have committed to Chipola,” Prough said.

Heiar served one season (2003-04) as top assistant to former Chipola coach Chris Jans. The 2004 season included a Conference Championship, State Championship and a sixth place finish at the 2004 National Tournament.

Before coming to Chipola, Heiar spent four seasons as an assistant at Loras College in Iowa. He also was an assistant coach at Franciscan University in Iowa in 1999.

As a player, Heiar was a second-team all-state selection at Dubuque Wahlert High in Iowa. At Kirkwood Community College, he earned second-team All-Region honors after leading his team to the National Tournament for the first time in school history. Heiar helped to guide his team to a conference championship and a 25-10 record. He also was captain of Chris Jans’ first team at Kirkwood.

Success followed Heiar to Franciscan University where he was twice named team captain and earned MVP honors. He earned numerous all-tournament honors, first-team all-conference, and led his team to the MCC Conference Title as a senior, the first time in school history.

Heiar and his wife, Jessica, have a seven year-old daughter, Alexis.