Director of Athletics Jasher Cox has named Devan Carter as the 16th head coach of the Lincoln Memorial University women’s basketball program, announced Thursday afternoon by the LMU athletics department.
Carter arrives in Harrogate after guiding the Pioneer women’s program at fellow South Atlantic Conference member Tusculum University the past five seasons. Taking the Pioneers to new heights, Carter led Tusculum to back-to-back 20-win seasons, three-straight winning campaigns and the 2020 SAC Tournament title.
After serving most of the 2015-16 season as interim head coach, Carter was named permanent head coach of the Pioneers on Feb. 27, 2016, and completely turned the Tusculum women’s program around. His time in Greeneville, Tennessee, was capped by the Pioneers’ first SAC Tournament championship since 2011 and third overall when Tusculum defeated 20th-ranked Anderson 61-49 in the 2020 SAC Tournament title game earlier this March. Receiving the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Pioneers were set to make their sixth NCAA Division II Southeast Regional appearance before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of all NCAA winter and spring championships.
“First off, I would like to thank President Dr. Clayton Hess, Dr. Jody Goins and Director of Athletics Jasher Cox for this amazing opportunity,” coach Carter said. “I am extremely honored and humbled to be the next coach at LMU. LMU is one of the premier jobs in the country, and I look forward to the challenge of returning this program to the national scene. We will create a culture that prepares our players for success in life, the classroom and on the court.”
Guiding Tusculum to its best season in terms of wins (24) and winning percentage (.774) since 2008-09, Carter’s Pioneers went 24-7 overall in 2019-20 and posted a 16-6 mark in SAC play en route to the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament. After a monumental leap between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, Carter got Tusculum to the 16-win mark in each of the last three years as the Pioneers finished no worse than sixth in the final league standings. Including Carter’s time as interim head coach, Tusculum posted a winning overall record and was at least .500 in SAC action in all but one of the past five seasons.
“We are unbelievably excited to have Devan Carter lead our women’s basketball program at Lincoln Memorial University,” stated AD Cox. “Devan built a very successful program at Tusculum and topped off his tenure there by capturing our league’s annual tournament championship. His ability to coach, lead, mentor and build our student-athletes will be extremely important to us as we look to take the next step with women’s basketball at LMU”
The Pioneers had nine All-SAC selections, including two first-team picks, under Carter’s tutelage as two of his pupils received All-Southeast Region accolades. Despite Tusculum’s 2019-20 postseason being halted, senior guard Mia Long was named to the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) All-Southeast Region Second Team after earning All-SAC First Team honors. Graduate forward Kasey Johnson also collected All-SAC laurels in Carter’s final season leading the Pioneers with her third honorable mention recognition.
Built on defense, Carter’s 2019-20 squad ranked in the top 15 nationally in several key statistical categories, including finishing seventh in turnover margin (8.39), eighth in both turnovers forced per game (22.7) and steals (386), and 13th in steals per game (12.5). Furthermore, Tusculum ranked among the top teams in the nation in three-point attempts (5th, 888), three pointers made (19th, 264), free-throw attempts (29th, 634), three pointers per game (30th, 8.5) and scoring margin (37th, 12.2). The Pioneers led the 12-team SAC in fewest turnovers (445), steals, steals per game, three-point attempts, turnover margin and fewest turnovers per game (14.4), while ranking second in the league in assist/turnover ratio (0.99), assists (440), assists per game (14.2), free-throw attempts, made free throws (430), offensive rebounds per game (14.1), scoring defense (59.6 PPG), made three pointers, three pointers per game and turnovers forced. For the second-straight season, Long was one of the best defensive players in the country, ranking second in the land and leading the conference in both steals (112) and steals per game (3.6). She was also among the top 100 players nationally in several offensive categories, including 25th in free-throw attempts (181), 60th in assists (123), 61st in made free throws (113), 84th in assists per game (4.0) and 93rd in assist/turnover ratio (1.52).
Tusculum enjoyed its finest season in nearly a decade in 2018-19, finishing the year with a 20-9 overall record and tied for fifth place in the SAC with an 8-8 league mark. The Pioneers opened the season with four-straight victories and added winning streaks of seven and five games throughout their campaign, which included a 75-54 win over nationally-ranked Newberry. With its stifling defense, Tusculum led the conference and was ranked in the top 10 nationally in several statistical categories, including finishing fifth in both steals per game (13.4) and turnovers forced per game (23.4), sixth in three-point field goal percentage defense (.260), seventh in turnover margin (8.4) and 12th in scoring defense (55.2 PPG). Claiming SAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, Long was the Division II statistical champion in steals per game with an impressive 3.96 average.
The 2017-18 season was a breakthrough year for Carter and the Pioneers as his team improved their record by nine-and-a-half games from 2016-17. Closing out the season with a 16-11 overall record, Tusculum earned its first trip to the SAC Tournament since 2012-13. The Pioneers went 11-9 in league play and tied for sixth place as junior guard Sydney Wilson and Johnson both collected postseason All-SAC recognition. The squad also had a notable exhibition victory, winning at Division I UNC Greensboro by a score of 71-69 on Dec. 19.
In his inaugural head coach campaign in 2015-16, Carter guided Tusculum to a seven-win improvement with a 13-12 overall record and an 11-11 composition in conference action. During that season, he mentored all-region and All-SAC standout senior guard Shynese Whitener, who finished the year as the league’s scoring champion (18.1 PPG).
Carter also served as associate head coach of the Pioneer men’s basketball program for three seasons from 2014-16. As associate head coach, Carter was Tusculum’s recruiting coordinator and director of skill development while also responsible for coordinating the Pioneers’ summer basketball camps.
Prior to his time at Tusculum, Carter served two seasons at Hargrave Military Academy as an assistant coach. While at the Chatham, Virginia, prep school, he worked to enhance the individual development of both guards and post players. He served as the program’s operations specialist where he handled the recruiting data base, film coordination and maintained the team’s website. Carter supervised players’ campus activities and facilitated and organized community service projects.
While on the coaching staff at Hargrave Military Academy, Carter assisted in the recruitment and coaching of several top-level collegiate players including current NBA players and former Louisville letter winners Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier. Other Division I players Carter helped recruit and coach include Codi Miller-McIntyre (Wake Forest), Corey Heyward (Georgia Tech), Charles Buggs (Minnesota), Anton Gill (Louisville), Greg McClinton (Wake Forest), Neville Fincher (Kansas State) and Donte Clark (Massachusetts).
A native of Cascade, Virginia, Carter was a four-year letterman and three-year starter at Division I and then Southern Conference member Elon University. He was instrumental in the major turnaround of the Elon basketball program, which reached the 2008 SoCon Tournament title game where the Phoenix faced nationally-ranked Davidson College. The championship game was Elon’s first nationally-televised game on ESPN and featured NBA superstar and former Davidson standout Stephen Curry.
Prior to his collegiate career at Elon, Carter played one season at Hargrave Military Academy during the 2005-06 academic year. He was a McDonald’s All-American nominee at Morehead High School in Eden, North Carolina, and played in the prestigious North Carolina East-West All-Star game. Carter was named to the Greensboro News and Record All-Area First Team and All-Northwest Region team as a senior. Garnering all-conference accolades three times during his prep career, Carter was a two-time team MVP and established the Morehead HS single-game scoring record with 48 points.
Following his college playing career for the Phoenix, Carter briefly played professionally in Europe, touring Ireland, Finland and the United Kingdom.
Carter earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Elon in 2010 where he was the 2010 recipient of the Phillips Excellence Award for Academics and the Dewey Andrews Scholarship. He earned his Master of Arts degree in human resource management from Tusculum in December of 2016.D2 Lincoln Memorial SAC Tusculum