by Justin Mathis
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – It was a homecoming of sorts on Thursday morning at the G.B. Hodge Center as USC Upstate introduced Dave Dickerson as the tenth men’s basketball coach in program history.
Dickerson, an Olar, South Carolina, native, couldn’t help but to be excited when the thought of coaching in the Palmetto State was brought up.
“It means the world to me,” Dickerson exclaimed. “To have a chance at this juncture of my life to be the head coach at USC Upstate, but most importantly, to come back to this state and run a program and be part of a university that is one of the most vibrant universities in the state.”
Dickerson sets foot on campus after having been a scout for the NBA’s Utah Jazz for the 2017-18 season. Prior to his stint with the Jazz, he was the head coach at Tulane for five seasons (2005-2010), where he compiled a 71-85 record. Following his time at Tulane, he served as the associate head coach at Ohio State under Thad Matta from 2010 to 2017. After graduating from Denmark-Olar High School in 1985, he played for four years at the University of Maryland from 1986 to 1989.
He began his coaching career by serving as an assistant at Gardner-Webb (1990-91), James Madison (1991-92), and Radford (1992-1996) before returning to his alma mater Maryland from 1996 to 2005. While in College Park, the Terrapins advanced to the Final Four in consecutive seasons and won the National Championship in 2002.
During the 2017-18 campaign, Upstate tallied a 7-25 record in Kyle Perry’s lone season at the helm. Perry, who served as the top assistant and later associate head coach under Eddie Payne for nine seasons, and the university parted ways on March 1st, 2018.
After being announced on March 30th as the new coach, Dickerson has already started talking with and conducting practices with his team, which will return three of their top five scorers from the previous season. One of those three players, Deion Holmes, has already made an impression on his new coach.
“The one thing that I noticed right away is that he’s wired the right way on the offensive end,” Dickerson stated without hesitation. “You don’t have to teach offense to him. He knows how to keep his eyes on the basket and he’s always prepared to score. That’s the one thing I love because at this level, you can’t make guys be scorers if they don’t have that mentality. What I’ve got to get him to do is defend at a high level the same way that he plays on the offensive end… We’ve had conversations about that and I think he’s ready to do that.”