Josh Thompson has resigned from his position as head women’s basketball coach at King University, and Michael Phelps has been named as the Interim Head Coach.
“I am very grateful to David Hicks for hiring me and giving me the opportunity to coach at King University,” Thompson said. “I am also thankful to the administration for the love and support towards my family and the women’s basketball program during my time here.”
“At this time I feel that God is moving me on to something else. It will be a difficult transition as I leave coaching, especially leaving the players on this current team,” Thompson continued.
Thompson has spent the last 10 years on the Tornado sidelines as he joined the staff in 2011. Following his first season in 2011-12, the Tornado improved their win total by 14 in 2012-13, going 14-13 and qualifying for the Conference Carolinas Tournament for the first time. The following year, King hosted their first Conference Carolinas Tournament game, earning their first win to advance to the semifinals.
The program continued to improve as the Tornado reached the Conference Carolinas championship game three straight years from 2016-18. King posted their most wins in more than a decade when they went 25-7, including a 19-3 marking Conference Carolinas play to finish second in the 2016-17 regular season standings. That season King defeated perennial power Limestone College on the road in the championship game to earn the first NCAA Tournament berth in program history. Following that season Thompson was selected Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year.
“Josh has been a tremendous Christian role model and mentor for our student-athletes, embodying King’s institutional vision and carrying out our Lead, Serve, Achieve mission,” director of athletics David Hicks said. “Under his leadership, our women’s basketball program has become one of the top programs in Conference Carolinas, and our student-athletes have excelled on the court and in the classroom. Josh has left a lasting legacy at King, and big shoes to fill for the next head women’s basketball coach.”
During his career, Thompson amassed a record of 157-120, going 118-82 in Conference Carolinas games. He recorded two 20-win seasons, coming in 2014-15 and 2016-17, those were the first two 20-win seasons since 2007-08 and the 25 wins are the third most in school history, trailing only four seasons’ when King Hall of Fame coach Al Nida’s squads posted two straight years with 27 wins and followed that with consecutive 28-win seasons. Thompson’s 157 wins trails only Nida’s 182 victories on the King all-time list.
“I have been so blessed to have been able to coach here these past 10 years,” Thompson finished. “I want to say thank you to all the players and coaches that I’ve been so blessed to work with. There are so many great people and great memories that mean so much to my family and me. I will always treasure the time I’ve had here, and King will always have a special place in my heart.”
Phelps has been an assistant coach for the men’s basketball program for the last three years. He helped the Tornado win the 2019-20 Conference Carolinas regular season title. During that season, Phelps served as the interim head coach, leading the Tornado to a double overtime road win in his first game.
“I have tremendous confidence in Michael as a coach and leader,” Hicks said. “His commitment to the student-athlete experience and his strong personal faith align perfectly with King’s institutional mission, and he is the perfect person to lead our student-athletes.”
“First, I would like to say thank you to President Whitaker and David Hicks for having confidence in me to lead the women’s basketball program,” Phelps said. “My family and I are thankful that the campus community and the Bristol community have shown so much love and support for the last pasts three years. I am looking forward to working with my team and leading the women’s basketball program here at King University.”
Over the last three years, the Tornado were one of the top three-point shooting teams in Conference Carolinas. During the 2019-20 season, Phelps coaches Rob Lenz National Player of the Year Jordan Floyd. Floyd led the nation in scoring and went on to play professionally in Italy last year.
“Michael has a basketball IQ and relates well to student-athletes,” said Hicks. “I expect the Tornado women’s basketball team to remain among the top teams in Conference Carolinas under his leadership.”
Prior to coming to campus, Phelps was an assistant coach at Urbana University and Cedarville University. Phelps played basketball at Henderson State University where he helped the Reddies win the Gulf South Conference and earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship.
“Circling back around and thinking about the time when I served as the interim head coach during the 2019-20 season,” said Phelps. “I can remember my wife saying, ‘Win or lose God has a plan you, so trust in him.’ Little did I know at that time God was preparing me for another interim head coaching position here at King University.”
Phelps graduated from Henderson State with a Bachelor of Science degree in sport and community recreation. He earned is Master of Science degree in sports administration from Henderson State as well.