June 28, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino has added three individuals to his staff, including assistant coach Tim Fuller, director of basketball operations Mark Lieberman and assistant strength coach David Padgett.
"Any time you're in a program for nearly 10 years, you want to re-evaluate everything you do to make your brand better," said Pitino. "With this staff, we intend to make some significant changes to our style and our brand. We're very excited about the team we have coming back because they are totally committed to making this brand successful."
Fuller has 10 years of experience in basketball coaching, marketing and admininstration. A 2000 graduate of Wake Forest with a degree in communication, he has been an NBA sports marketing field representative for Nike for the past two years.
"Tim has come highly recommended to me by people I respect in the business," said Pitino, who has seen 24 of his former assistant coaches or players become collegiate head coaches. "He has experience in coaching and the private sector with the game of basketball. He has the potential to be an outstanding recruiter and will add a totally different dimension to our staff. We're excited to have Tim as a part of the Cardinal family."
The Winston-Salem, N.C. native began his career as a volunteer assistant basketball coach at North Carolina A&T while also serving as an intern for the Atlantic Coast Conference (2000-01). After a year as an assistant at West Forsyth High School in Clemmons, N.C. where he worked with current New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul, he accepted a position as an assistant coach at Elon under Ernie Nestor in 2003. He advanced to associate coach at Elon for the 2003-04 season before briefly serving as Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Miami (Fla.) under head coach Frank Haith.
"Tim is a rising star in the coaching business," said Haith. "He's a great hire for Louisville. He's been in coaching and has also made great contacts through his recent work with Nike. He's a real team player who will fit in very well with (U of L assistant coaches) Ralph (Willard) and Steve (Masiello)."
He returned to his alma mater in 2004 as Director of Basketball Operations for two seasons on head coach Skip Prosser's staff. He moved to Fairfield (Conn.) University as assistant coach for one season under Ed Cooley (2006-07).
"Tim is a tremendous young man with a lot of passion and energy," said Fairfield University head coach Ed Cooley. "He's very well-mannered and will be a great asset to Louisville's coaching staff. He will bring a lot to Louisville through the connections he has made throughout his career."
Fuller, 32, participated as a non-scholarship athlete at Wake Forest under Dave Odom and helped the Demon Deacons rise to as high as No. 2 in the national poll with current San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan as a teammate. He completed his career as co-captain of Wake's 2000 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) Championship team.
"I think Tim is uniquely qualified to be on the Louisville staff," said Odom. "He brings an impressive balance of human qualities that will be useful in recruiting, in addition to a strong passion for teaching the game of basketball. He's articulate, gets along well with everyone and particularly identifies well with young people. He's a terrific person who always comes to work with a smile on his face. I'm delighted that he'll have an opportunity to work with one of the best coaches in all of basketball at a university that annually competes for championships."
Fuller played four seasons at Woodbridge (Va.) Senior High School (1992-96) and started as a post player. Before choosing to pursue collegiate basketball, he spent the summer practicing to become a guard, knowing his 6-4 stature would not allow him to play in the paint at the collegiate level.
He and his wife La'Kicia have three children: Timothy II, Gabriel Elijah and Solomon Dior. Fuller replaces Walter McCarty, who left the Cardinals for an assistant coaching position with the Indiana Pacers.
Lieberman has served as head varsity boys basketball coach at Monsignor Pace High School in Miami, Fla. for the past 13 years.
"I've observed Mark's practices and coaching ability up close and personal," said Pitino. "He is one of the premier teachers at the high school level. He'll start his collegiate career in operations and will work his way up to the full time coaching ranks. Mark is an outstanding communicator and teacher of the game of basketball."
Lieberman guided Monsignor Pace to five Florida state championships (including one as an assistant), three runner-up finishes and ten total Elite Eight appearances while compiling a 335-95 record in 13 seasons. A total of 46 players from Pace earned college basketball scholarships during his time there, including 29 in Division I. He coached current U of L sophomore forward Rakeem Buckles in high school.
He was honored as the Florida High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year on three occasions (2003, 2007, 2008) and twice served as head coach during a high school all-star game, including the 2008 Derby Festival All-Star game in Louisville and the 2009 McDonald's All-American Game played in Miami. He has extensive basketball camp and AAU coaching experience over the past 13 years.
Pace won the 2003 3A state championship under Lieberman's guidance and four times won the 4A state title in 1999, 2007 and 2008, as well as the 1996 title while he was an assistant. His Pace teams were state runner-up in three consecutive seasons in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Lieberman served as an assistant coach for two seasons at Pace prior to his advancement to head coach, producing a combined 35-8 record in two seasons as the junior varsity coach (1995-97). He was also an assistant basketball coach at Western High School in Davie, Fla. for one season (1994-95) when Western improved by 15 victories over the previous season.
Lieberman earned a bachelor's degree in communications and graphic design from Florida International in 1995. He taught world history, art, English and physical education during his time at Pace.
Lieberman replaces Eric Scott, who served in a similar role for three seasons and has moved to Special Assistant to the Athletic Director.
Padgett will serve as assistant strength coach for the Cardinals after playing professional basketball for UB LaPalma in the Canary Islands for two years following his graduation from U of L. He had reached the final preseason cut of the Miami Heat before his playing career in Spain.
"David is giving up his playing career to try to enter the coaching ranks," said Pitino. "He'll start near the bottom as an assistant strength coach, where he'll learn all facets of what it takes to be a college basketball coach. David was a coach on the floor for us during his playing career at U of L and contributed strongly as a complete player while helping his teammates."
A three-year starter and captain at center for the Cardinals (2005-08), Padgett was a unanimous first-team All-BIG EAST Conference selection as a senior and also earned USBWA All-District IV honors. He has averaged a team-leading 11.2 points and grabbed 4.8 rebounds his senior year in 2007-08 when the Cardinals reached the NCAA Elite Eight.
Padgett ranks second in career field goal percentage at U of L, hitting 61.3 percent of his shots (332-542). His .667 field goal percentage as a senior was the second best ever at U of L. He set a BIG EAST Conference field goal percentage record for league games as a senior, hitting 68.3 percent of his shots in the 18 games (86-of-126). He was a second team All-BIG EAST pick as a junior.
Padgett and his wife Megan were married this summer.