GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Nick Pasqua has been named the new men's basketball coach at Tusculum College announced Pioneer athletic director Doug Jones. Pasqua was introduced to the Tusculum community Thursday morning at the Scott M. Niswonger Student Commons.
Pasqua becomes 27th men's basketball coach at Tennessee's most historic college and the sixth head coach during the NCAA Division II era of the program. He replaces Mike Jones who coached TC to a 53-115 record during his six seasons with the Pioneers.
Pasqua comes to Tusculum after serving the last nine years on the coaching staff at King University, including the last six seasons as associate head coach. During his tenure at the Bristol, Tennessee school the Tornado posted a 192-82 record, including six 20-win campaigns and five national postseason appearances. KU captured three Conference Carolinas regular-season championships and two tournament titles during his tenure on the Tornado staff with legendary head coach George Pitts.
The Alcoa, Tennessee native also served as offensive coordinator of the King program for the last six years as the Tornado produced some staggering production numbers averaging over 80 points per game and finished in the NCAA top-five in 3-point shooting consistently during that span.
"Nick Pasqua is one the best young and rising coaches in the Southeast Region," said Jones. "His reputation as a tireless worker in recruiting will serve our program extremely well. Nick is a man of high character who will mentor our young men both on and off the court. This was a very talented applicant pool and for Nick to rise to the top tells you how confident I am in the job he will do."
"I am extremely excited and honored to be the head men's basketball coach at Tusculum College. I would like to thank President Nancy Moody, Coach Jones, and the search committee for giving me this opportunity," said Pasqua. "I look forward to producing a winning basketball team on the floor and being an active member in the Greeneville community."
Last year's KU team posted a 19-12 overall record and advanced to the Conference Carolinas championship game. The Tornado averaged 86 points per contest with two players garnering All-Conference honors in Hunter Leveau and C.J. Good.
During the 2015-16 campaign, he helped guide the Tornado to their second Conference Carolinas regular season title and first Conference Carolinas Tournament title in 2015-16. He also helped KU climb the polls early in the season, achieving a No. 7 ranking in the NABC Coaches Poll, its highest ranking in the poll in program history. The Tornado recorded a 10-game winning streak before falling in the regular-season finale, but still wrapped up the league title and the top seed in the league tournament with an impressive 17-3 conference record.
King hosted 2016 Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals and finals, dismantling Barton 85-53 in the championship game and clinched the program its second NCAA Tournament berth. The Tornado earned the No. 2 seed in the regional tournament before falling to eventual regional finalist Lenoir-Rhyne and ending KU's season with a 25-7 record. Good and Hunter both garnered All-Conference honors and Good earned All-Region NABC accolades after leading the nation (NCAA II) averaging 3.97 three-point field goals per game.
In 2014-15, Pasqua and the Tornado went 24-6, including a 14-1 record at home as the team led the nation with 370 made three-pointers, averaging 12.3 per contest which were second in the nation. One of those victories came in the program's first nationally-televised game as King hosted 18th-ranked Mount Olive in CBS Sports' NCAA Division II Basketball Game of the Week. In front of a packed house, the Tornado rallied from 12 points down and closed the game on a 53-23 run en route to a 91-73 win. King would finish second in the league standings with a 17-3 conference worksheet. The Tornado advanced to the conference tournament semifinals with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from LeVeau to top Limestone in the conference quarterfinal. However, King's postseason run ended with a loss to North Greenville in the semifinals. Logan Lyle earned Conference Carolinas Scholar Athlete of the Year for a second time, and became the first King men's basketball player to be selected CoSIDA Academic All-District and Male Athlete of the Year for the university.
The 2013-14 season saw the Tornado break the school-record with 27 made three-pointers in a game in in their 131-69 win over Mars Hill University. King also came within two points of the 44-year old school record for points in a game. KU went 16-13 on the season, going 11-5 in Conference Carolinas play. King finished as conference tournament runners-up, falling to Limestone in the championship game. The team led the country in three-pointers made per game with 13.3 per game.
The Tornado went 19-8 overall, while posting a 14-6 mark in Conference Carolinas play in 2012-13. Their conference mark landed the Tornado just one game out of first place in their second year in the league. The Tornado also posted a 3-0 record against NCAA Southeast Region finalists, Barton College and USC Aiken.
In 2011-12, Pasqua helped lead the Tornado to a Conference Carolinas regular season championship in its first year as a league member. Behind a 23-8 record and 14-2 conference mark, the Tornado became the first nationally-ranked team in school history since becoming a NCAA Division II institution, reaching No. 25 in the country in the NABC poll. King earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament, placing two honorees on the All-Conference team, including one All-Southeast Region selection. The Tornado led the nation in three-point field goals per game that year, averaging 11.0 treys per game.
Pasqua was a four-year starter on the hardwood at King from 2004-2008 and played his final two seasons for Coach Pitts. In those two seasons with Pitts, his teams compiled a 49-19 record. Pasqua was a member of two Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament championship teams and the 2007-2008 AAC regular season championship team. He earned All AAC first team accolades, was named to the AAC All-Defensive Team and the AAC All-Academic Team. He accumulated 1,300 points and 500 assists during his Tornado career.
The Alcoa, Tennessee native graduated from King in 2008 with a Bachelor's degree in sport management and earned his teacher certification from Lincoln Memorial University in 2010.
He and his wife Spenser are the proud parents of their son Hudson.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT COACH PASQUA:
"When I came to King 11 years ago Nick was the first returning player that I met. After a few weeks of practice I realized that I needed Nick to be my captain. He was my captain for two years and became an excellent, tough, competitive combo guard. He played on two conference championship teams that made the national tournament. As soon as we lost in the national tournament during his senior year, I offered him an assistant coaching position. Nick was my assistant and then my associate head coach for nine years. He has grown as a person and coach immensely during this time. He has been an integral part of the success that King University basketball has experienced over the last nine years. Nick is very deserving of being the head coach at Tusculum College. There is no doubt in my mind that he will do an outstanding job there. It is probably the most bitter-sweet emotion I have ever encountered. I am extremely happy for Nick and his family and wish him nothing but the very best."
George Pitts – Head Baseball Coach, King University
"I couldn't be more excited for Coach Pasqua and Tusculum. His work ethic and ability to connect with his players will make him an instant success there. Having known Nick as a player and a coach, there is no one more ready for this opportunity to lead the Tusculum Basketball program into the future!"
Mike Morrell – Assistant Basketball Coach, University of Texas
"Nick is one of the most talented young coaches in the region. He's been a significant part of our success, and has been integral to our program for over a decade, both as a student-athlete and coach. He embodies the values of NCAA Division II and small, private institutions. It's bittersweet when someone of his talent leaves, particularly when they represent all of the best things about King, but I am confident his experiences at King, under Coach Pitt's tutelage, has prepared him to be successful at Tusculum."
David Hicks -- Athletic Director, King University
"Nick looked like a kid at a science fair instead of a basketball player coming out of Alcoa High School. He had the heart of a lion as a player and he worked and overachieved as much as any player I've ever been around. I am sure his teams at Tusculum will take on his personality of mental and physical toughness! Congratulations to Nick, Doug Jones & Tusculum on a great choice for the Pioneer basketball program!"
Jason Allison – Assistant Basketball Coach, Appalachian State University