FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2018
Contact: Eric Etchison '88, Assistant AD for Communications
Randy Lambert, Maryville College head men's basketball coach for almost four decades, has announced that he will retire from coaching at the end of the 2018-2019 season – his 39th at the helm of the program.
The announcement to the campus community was made today in a memorandum from Dr. Melanie V. Tucker, vice president and dean of students.
"We will appropriately recognize his retirement in the months to come," Tucker wrote to campus. "However, I want to express here my sincere appreciation for his hard work and incredible commitment to this institution."
Lambert, who played for Maryville College under legendary coach Boydson Baird, is known as one of the most successful NCAA Division III coaches in the nation. With 701 career victories, he is currently ranked fourth in the country among active head coaches in career victories. Backed by its consistency in winning and its up-tempo style of play, his program is considered one of the best in the nation. His winning percentage is an impressive .689.
In addition to his success as a coach, Lambert ranks high among administrators who have greatly influenced the course of Maryville College Athletics, said current Athletics Director Kandis Schram.
"The Lambert era will be known as one of the most successful NCAA Division III athletics programs in history," she said. "The hundreds of student-athletes who have worn the orange and garnet have benefited from his leadership, passion and commitment."
Placeres will become head coach
In the memo to campus, Tucker announced that Raul Placeres, who played for the Scots from 2003 until 2005 and has served as Lambert's assistant for the last seven years, will become the College's head coach for men's basketball next spring.
Effective July 1, 2018, he will move to a full-time position and begin assuming many of the responsibilities previously held by Lambert, including recruiting and scheduling.
"[Placeres] has demonstrated the qualifications for the job, as well as an appreciation for and familiarity with the program, our campus and our student-athletes, all of which should make a change in leadership seamless," Tucker wrote in the memo.
Lambert to help with fundraising
Placeres's added responsibilities will allow Lambert to take on the role of part-time athletics campaign coordinator, Tucker explained. Maryville College has plans to renovate Cooper Athletic Center and related athletics facilities.
Schram said helping to raise financial support for MC's athletics is nothing new to Lambert.
"Throughout his career, Randy has been instrumental in improving our facilities," she said. "While he was athletics director, substantial renovations to Cooper Athletic Center, Boydson Baird Gymnasium, Honaker Field, Lloyd L. Thornton Stadium and Scotland Yard all took place – all positively impacting the experience of student-athletes."
Wood will become associate director
It was also announced that Sharon Wood, director of athletic training, will serve as interim associate athletics director for 2018-2019. She will assume the compliance responsibilities previously held by former associate athletics director C.J. Fayton, who accepted a position with his alma mater, the University of Tennessee, last month.
An alumna and member of the College's athletics staff for nearly 30 years, Wood will continue to serve as the director of athletic training, health care administrator and senior women administrator, while also taking on additional administrative duties.
"Sharon's commitment to student success was evident from the moment I stepped on campus," Tucker said. "I applaud her desire to take on additional administrative duties during this transitional time, and I anticipate increased opportunity for her to positively support our student-athletes."
Tucker added that a commitment to student success – both in and outside the classroom – matters, and for that reason, the College takes seriously all personnel changes.
"With approximately one-third of students at Maryville College participating as student-athletes, the success of our athletics department is integral to the success of a number of students," she said. "I believe these personnel changes announced today sustain our long-standing tradition of success on and off the field."
AD excited about changes
Schram said she was proud and excited about the new roles her staff members have assumed.
"Both Randy and Sharon have a strong desire to enhance administrative efforts within athletics and the College," she said. "Their combined experience of nearly 70 years displays their dedication toward excellence on and off the court.
"Raul, with his energy, experience and love for the men's basketball program is the perfect choice to extend the legacy Randy has created over the past 39 seasons as one of the top NCAA Division III men's basketball programs in the country," she continued. "They all have a passion for our student-athletes and the local community that will serve their new roles very well."
Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2017 semester was 1,181.