New men’s basketball coach meets with media

Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia introduced the new men’s basketball head coach, Jeremy Ballard, to the media on Monday at Ocean Bank Convocation Center.

“We did our research and got who we believe is going to be a very successful head coach for the basketball program. He’s been successful everywhere he’s been. He has a track record of not only recruiting top basketball players, but also developing them, getting them to the next level and graduating them,” Garcia said.

Ballard arrives at FIU after serving as associate head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017-18. The Rams compiled an 18-15 overall record last season.

“I’ve always thought about the capabilities of this program and where it can go. I felt extremely fortunate that they had interest in me because there are coaches all over the country that want the opportunity to be in Conference USA and to be at a wonderful growing university like this,” Ballard said.

A few returning players were present at the news conference to see their new head coach.

“He has coached a lot of players that are playing at the professional level. We have a lot of young guys, and development is really important at their age to get us where we need to go,” said redshirt senior forward Hassan Hussein. “He is a young and vibrant personality, and when you have that kind of presence, it makes you excited for anything. You can get up for anything, whether it be talking or working out. It’s just refreshing.”

Ballard becomes the ninth head coach in the program’s history. He replaces Anthony Evans, whose contract was not renewed after he led FIU to a 14-18 finish in 2017-18.

“For the past couple of seasons, we’ve been kind of stagnant,” said sophomore forward Osasumwen Osaghae. “I think we have a ton of talent here that we can take advantage of.”