Assistant coach Greg Gary talks about his road to Purdue
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The Anderson, Indiana, native is a 20-year veteran of the college coaching ranks, including two seasons as a head coach. He has made 10 postseason appearances as a college assistant, reaching the NCAA Tournament four times.
In 2014-15, Gary had a large impact on the development of Rapheal Davis, Dakota Mathias and Kendall Stephens, helping the Boilermakers to their first NCAA Tournament since 2012.
Gary’s tutelage helped Davis become the Big Ten’s best defensive player, while also improving his offensive game. In Big Ten games only, Davis averaged 12.2 points per game, a 5.3 points per game improvement from his sophomore to his junior season. He has also improved his three-point shooting 132 points from his freshman (.250) to his junior year (.382).
Stephens made 73 three-pointers a year ago as a sophomore, ranking 10th on the single-season list. And Mathias was playing his best basketball of the season late in his freshman campaign, making almost 40 percent of his three-point attempts over his last 10 games.
Gary’s first season in West Lafayette was a successful one, as he helped guide the Boilers to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth year in a row. Forward Robbie Hummel was named an honorable mention All-American and received first-team All-Big Ten recognition after leading Purdue in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots.
Hummel was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft, becoming the eighth player to be drafted by an NBA franchise or spend time on an NBA roster after receiving Gary’s guidance.
In 2012-13, Gary oversaw an influx of youth in the Boilermaker frontcourt and helped guide center A.J. Hammons through one of the finest freshman seasons in program history.
Hammons earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors after finishing the season with averages of 10.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. He led the Big Ten with an average of 2.3 blocks per contest in league play, and wrapped up the campaign ranked second on Purdue’s freshman charts in blocks (67), third in rebounds (204) and sixth in points (359).
Two years ago, Gary helped Kendall Stephens earn Big Ten All-Freshmen accolades after making 64 three-pointers, the most for a Big Ten freshman and the second most by a freshman in school history.
Gary has also made a big impact on the recruiting trail, working the fertile state of Ohio the hardest. He helped land Vince Edwards and Mathias in the 2014 class, which was ranked in the top 25 nationally.
Gary came to Purdue from two stints at Duquesne, where he spent the 2007-08 and 2010-11 seasons as an assistant coach, sandwiched around two seasons as head coach at Centenary. Gary resigned from his post at Centenary after the school announced in July 2009 that it would seek reclassification as an NCAA Division III member.
A program that had won a total of 10 Summit League games in the four years prior to Gary’s arrival, Centenary posted nine league wins in his two seasons at the helm.
Prior to arriving at Duquesne, Gary spent three seasons (2004-05 through 2006-07) as an assistant coach at South Florida, helping the Bulls transition from Conference USA to the Big East. While in Tampa, Gary worked with big man Solomon Jones, who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2006 and has played parts of seven seasons in the NBA.
Gary served as an assistant coach under Perry Clark at Miami from 2000-04, helping lead the Hurricanes to the NIT in 2001 and the NCAA Tournament in 2002. During his tenure at Miami, Gary aided in the development of current NBA players James Jones and John Salmons, as well as former NBA player Robert Hite. He also served as the `Canes academic coordinator.
Gary spent six of his first seven years in the coaching industry at Tulane, helping guide his alma mater the NCAA Tournament in 1995 and the NIT on four occasions. In his second stint with the Green Wave, he also served as the team’s recruiting coordinator and oversaw the players’ academic responsibilities.
At Tulane, Gary coached three players - Jerald Honeycutt, Linton Johnson and Chris Owens - who spent time on NBA rosters.
Gary served as an assistant coach at McNeese State for the 1997-98 campaign.
After graduating from Anderson Highland High School in 1988 and spending a year at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., Gary transferred to Tulane. He was a vital component in the revitalization of a program that was dropped in 1985 and reinstated in 1988, leading the Green Wave to the 1992 NCAA Tournament as a senior.
Despite playing only three seasons in New Orleans, Gary finished his career as Tulane’s all-time leader in assists, and now ranks fifth (370). He is second in career assist-to-turnover ratio (1.97).
Gary earned a B.S. in sport management from Tulane in 1992. He and his wife, Claudia, have four daughters, Gabrielle, Logan, Alexandra and Brooklyn, and son, Nash.
The Gary File
Date of Birth: Feb. 14, 1970
Hometown: Anderson, Ind.
Education: Tulane '92 (B.S.)
Children: Gabrielle, Logan, Alexandra, Brooklyn and Nash
1989: Aquinas College
1994-97: Tulane; assistant coach
1998: McNeese State; assistant coach
1999-00: Tulane; assistant coach
2001-04: Miami, Fla.; assistant coach
2005-07: USF; assistant coach
2008: Duquesne; assistant coach
2009-10: Centenary; head coach
2011: Duquesne; assistant coach
2012-p.: Purdue; assistant coach