As we posted earlier, NC State has added a new piece to the basketball coaching staff. Tom Asbury will be a video coordinator and analyst. He will help create gameplans, shot charts and more, in order to help the coaching staff prepare for upcoming games.
You’re still probably wondering. Who exactly is Tom Asbury and what does he bring to the table?
Tom started off his basketball career at George Washington Prep, playing under High School Hall of Fame coach Bill Weimar. As a 6’6 forward, he got his first taste of success when he was able to help lead the school to their first Class 3a State Championship.
Asbury then went on to play his college ball at the University of Wyoming where he was the team captain, leading them to the NCAA Tournament in 1967 where they faced off with UCLA and Lew Alcindor. Although they lost by almost 50, Asbury was able to put up 20 points. An impressive feat no matter how you look at it.
Tom also had a very good coach at Wyoming by the name of Bill Strannigan. Bill was inducted into both the Wyoming and the Iowa State Hall of Fame after turning in the 2nd most all-time wins at Wyoming. He also led Iowa State to prominence by getting them to their highest ranking of all-time in 2 consecutive seasons.
Asbury was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks (NBA) and the Denver Rockets (ABA). He played one season in Denver before calling it quits to start a coaching career.
After finishing up a strong college career and cup of coffee in the pros, Asbury moved back to his home town of Denver CO to start his coaching career at the high school level. At two separate schools in Colorado (Arvada and Pomano) he totaled an impressive 107-37 record over eight seasons.
While at Pomano, Tom took a 6’9 kid by the name of Joe Fazekas, who had never played the game of basketball and turned him into a D-1 star who barely missed the NBA. While you’ve probably never heard of Joe, you may have heard of his son Nick, who, with the guidance of Asbury, had a stellar career at Nevada and was eventually drafted by the Mavericks in’07 (Read the full story here).
Once he was done with in the high school ranks, Asbury went back to his alma mater to work as an assistant coach for three year before landing a job under the evnetual UCLA great Jim Harrick who was coaching at Pepperdine. Here, Asbury learned the ins and outs of what is now known as the UCLA philosophy (and the high post offense.)
After Harrick left in for UCLA in ’88, Asbury took the head coaching job at Pepperdine. While at UCLA Harrick was able to mentor yet another future head coach on the UCLA way and the high post offense. His name was Mark Gottfried.
Once at Pepperdine, Asbury quickly got the ball rolling after back-to-back seasons without a postseason. In his first year he was able to compile a 20-win team and make it into the NIT. In the following five years Asbury led Pepperdine to a postseason in all but one year. The tally was three years to the NCAA tournament, three years to a conference championship, and three years of a conference tournament championship.
Overall at Pepperdine, Tom was 125-59 and 66-18 in West Coast Conference.
After 6 strong years, Tom took a job with a depleted Kansas State Wildcats. The previous season was a strong one for them, making the semi finals in the NIT, however they lost big time scorer Askia Jones to graduation. In his first year Asbury and Kansas St struggled mightly, ending with a 3-11 record in conference. The following season would be Asbury’s best, posting 17 total wins and making it to the NCAA tournament.
Overall, Asbury struggled in his 6 years with K-State, due to what many thought to be an inability to recruit in Kansas as well as he did in Pepperdine (which sits right outside Malibu next to the coast). Asbury ended up with a 85-88 record and a rough 29-63 finish in conference play at Kansas St before being let go at the end of the 2011 season.
Tom then took a short stint in retirement, but after some time he found that he still had the itch to coach. He decided to take an assistant coaching job over at Alabama under head coach Mark Gottfried.
Together the 2 had quite a run at Alabama, posting a 82-46 record over the 4 years, including three NCAA tournaments and three 20 win seasons. In one of those season they the team posted a number 1 ranking in the country and evenutally made a run to the elite 8.
After a strong run at Alabama, Pepperdine came calling for their once great coach to bring them back from the depths of the West Coast Conference (finsihing 6th, 7th and 8th the previous seasons — and had a team GPA of 1.8).
Though Asbury knew he was taking over a struggling basketball program, he came back to try and restore a program he deeply cared about. Although his record during those 3 seasons was nothing to write home about, Asbury was able lift the GPA all the way up to a 2.8 and in his last season finished 16-18 overall.
How Will Tom Fit at NC State?
As we noted, Tom has quite the background with Gottfried. While at Alabama, the two saw immense success and were part of some of Alabama’s strongest years. Tom also has a very similar background as Gottfried in that both were disciples of Jim Harrick, who in turn makes them disciples of the John Wooten. This should help them see eye to eye on team philosophy as well and how they will attack teams offensively (both learned, and ran the High Post Offense taught to them by Jim Harrick.)
Toms 15 strong years of coaching experience, mixed with his knowledge of Gottfried’s system and past success, should make Tom Asbury a very helpful addition to the Wolfpack staff.