Hiring of Hankinson Ends Master's Shuffle

Times Staff Writer

After struggling through two losing basketball seasons at The Master's College, Randy Stem has stepped down from the head coaching position to become an assistant coach, Athletic Director Geoff Zahn announced Tuesday.

Mel Hankinson, who resigned recently as head coach at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and a former assistant coach at Iowa under George Raveling, has been hired as Master's new coach.

Stem said he decided he wanted to become an assistant under Hankinson after hearing of the coach's resignation from Samford in March. "I was happy in my role here," Stem said. "But I was disappointed in my first two years. I had met Mel years ago and I wanted the chance to work with him. I told Geoff that Mel Hankinson is one of the best basketball coaches in the country.

"Stepping down was no problem. I hate losing. If he can get us winning faster, I said fine. I will learn more from him than from pounding my own head against the wall."

Despite his 11-47 record, Stem said he was not pressured by school officials to resign.

"I feel like I had the freedom to do what I wanted. If I had not brought Mel's name up, it never would have happened. The pressure I was feeling came from within me. I cannot handle losing. This will make me a better coach."

In 16 years of college coaching, Hankinson has an overall record of 255-194. He began his career at Slippery Rock in Pennsylvania, then moved to Roanoke, Va., College, Delta State in Mississippi, Iowa and Samford. In 1983, Delta State was ranked fourth in the NCAA Division II.

Hankinson, who has written a number of books about basketball strategy, said he would employ a fast-break, pressure-defense style at Master's.

"The immediate goal is to secure two quality players to add to the players who return so that we can become competitive within NAIA District III," he said. "We need Division I-type athletes."

David Montgomery, who recently was hired to assist Stem, will join the former head coach as Hankinson's assistant.

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