Top Men’s Basketball Assistants: SoCon

In this series, we’ll be giving props to some of the best assistants in college basketball.

For each conference, I polled at least 20 coaches (primarily assistants) and asked for them to name the top assistant coaches in their respective league. Is it a perfect way of determining the elite assistants? Maybe not, but it seems far more accurate than any other method.

I’ve also made sure to include some info on each coach that’s recognized — as well as quotes from both their boss and another assistant in the league.

Bobby Kummer, Mercer | The Detroit native played at Charlotte and graduated in 1996. Kummer has had assistant stints at Charlotte (1996-98), Texas A&M (1998-2004), Charlotte, again, from 2004-10, Appalachian State (2010-14) and Lamar (2014-19). He came to Mercer with Greg Gary a year ago.

“Bobby has the complete package. He recruits and scouts at a major-league level. He is extremely organized and thorough in every aspect of our program. He is a problem solver and he does a great job of developing our guys on and off the court!” – Mercer coach Greg Gary

“He’s done a great job turning things at Mercer. They run some great actions offensively that are really hard to guard. He can really coach.” – SoCon assistant

Kyle Bankhead, UNCG | He started 48 games for Gonzaga in his career and graduated in 2003. Spent one season playing in Germany before an eight-year stint from 2007-15 as an assistant at San Diego. After two seasons as the head coach at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, he joined Wes Miller’s program in 2017.

“Kyle’s ability to recruit prep school and internationally has added a lot of value to our program. He develops great relationships with our players and is detail oriented on the floor.” – UNCG coach Wes Miller

“He’s fairly new to the league, but I know what he’s able to do because he’s got relationships overseas and also in the prep schools. He can recruit and he’s also a heck of a coach.” – SoCon assistant

Dwight Perry, Wofford | Perry played three seasons at Kentucky and graduated in 2010. He was an intern at Stanford for two years, then joined VCU, where he was a grad assistant for two seasons under Shaka Smart before being named the video coordinator for the 2013-14 campaign. Perry spent five years as an assistant at Furman before arriving at Wofford in 2019.

“Dwight has that ‘It’ factor that you look for in a coach. He’s got great command and presence as a teacher, recruits and evaluates at a high level, and is convicted in his beliefs on what it takes to be a winner, which he’s done at every program he’s been a part of. He’s one of the good ones in our profession and I have no doubt he’ll be leading his own program soon.” – Wofford coach Jay McAuley

“Dwight has had great success at Furman and has done a great job across town in his first year at Wofford. He’s been a big key to both programs’ success.” – SoCon assistant

Jimmie Williams, Furman | The Olathe, Kan. native was a two-time all-conference selection at MidAmerica Nazarene and graduated in 2002. He was an assistant at his alma mater in 2006 before becoming the head coach at Stoutland High in 2008-09. Williams was also an assistant at Texas Wesleyan University and Southwestern University before joining the North Greenville program for four seasons. Williams then went to William Jewell before coming to Furman in 2018.

“Jimmie’s endless energy combined with his passion for people gives him an ability to do his job at a high level. He’s a gifted connector that intentionally invests in relationships which enhances the development of our players. It also allows him to recruit effectively by building trusting relationships quickly. On the court, he brings a joy and confidence that our players draw to. He’s had a major impact on our program in the two years he’s been here and [is] clearly preparing himself to become a head coach in the near future.” – Furman coach Bob Richey

“You can tell he has a big hand in the success at Furman from watching his interactions with the players during games. He’s got a great reputation within the league.” – SoCon assistant

Tim Johnson, Furman* | The Memphis native and Wofford Athletics Hall of Famer graduated from the school in 2011. He spent four years as an assistant at his alma mater prior to joining the James Madison staff. He was at JMU for two years before joining Bob Richey’s staff at Furman.

“Tim is exactly what you would expect from a guy that’s worked for Larry Shyatt and Mike Young previously: high character, smart, detailed in his coaching, understands the components that go into winning and continuously aims to improve. His ability to develop post players is the best I’ve seen as all of our frontcourt players took huge steps forward this past year. He has also made an immediate impact on our recruiting through his evaluations and relationship building. Tim has won at a high level during his career and he too is preparing himself nicely to become a great head coach when the opportunity presents itself.” – Furman coach Bob Richey

“I got to watch him since his days as a player. I watched him turn that [Wofford] program [around] as a player and [saw] the success they had and recruits he signed at Wofford. Was able to have similar success at JMU and seems to be a major impact on Furman’s success.” – SoCon assistant

Andre Gray, UNCG* | Gray played at Division III Methodist College from 1995-97 and was an assistant high school coach at J.F. Webb (Oxford, N.C.) before becoming an assistant at his alma mater. He was an assistant at Wingate University (2003-07), Gardner-Webb (2007-08), Western Carolina (2008-11), UNCW (2011-14), Winston-Salem State (2014-15) and Charlotte (2015-18) before joining UNCG in 2018.

“Andre has 20 years of coaching experience in college basketball. He’s genuine, hard-working and has great knowledge of the game. He gets more recognition for his strength in recruiting, but his ability to develop skill and communicate strategy is equally impressive.” – UNCG coach Wes Miller

“The guy has been at every level in North Carolina and his relationships have proved it. He can really recruit because he works hard and is extremely well-respected.” – SoCon assistant

Brigham Waginger, Western Carolina* | The South Webster, Ohio native finished his Western Carolina playing career (2006-10) with 810 points and 285 steals. He joined the coaching staff at his alma mater in 2011 as an assistant and was later promoted to recruiting coordinator in 2015.

“We felt very fortunate to have Brig stay as part of our staff when we arrived two years ago. He brings a wealth of very successful experience in the Southern Conference to our staff — both as a coach, as well as a player. He has a genuine love for Western Carolina University and for the men’s basketball program, which is infectious to all those around him.” – Western Carolina coach Mark Prosser

“He’s a guy who has been in the league for a long, long time — as a player and now as a coach. That’s a tough job, but he’s a guy who has been able to help out in a variety of roles.” – SoCon assistant

*Three-way tie for fifth place.

MORE: Stadium Ranks the Top Men’s Basketball Assistant Coaches