HARROGATE, Tenn. -- Lincoln Memorial University head men's basketball coach Josh Schertz has announced the completion of his staff for the 2014-15 campaign, promoting assistant coaches Cameron Whicker and Davis Fisher, while hiring Jeremiah Samarrippas and Omar Wattad to graduate assistant spots.
After three seasons serving as the second assistant, Cam Whicker has been promoted to the top assistant spot. During Whicker's four-year tenure with the Railsplitters (including a one-year stint as a graduate assistant), the program has compiled a combined 106-18 record with three South Atlantic Conference regular season titles, two SAC tournament titles and four-consecutive appearances in the NCAA Southeast Regional. In each of the past three seasons, the Railsplitters have advanced to the NCAA Tournament's round of 32.
"Cam has worked his way up through our program and is very deserving of this opportunity," said Coach Schertz. "His combination of intelligence, work ethic and attention to detail have positively impacted our program both on and off the court."
During Whicker's first season at LMU, the Railsplitters jumped into the NABC/Division II top-25 national poll on December 8 for the first time in program history. Since that time the Railsplitters have not left the national rankings, accumulating a streak of 58-consecutive weeks in top 25, the ninth-longest streak in D-II history.
Along with Whicker's promotion, Coach Josh Schertz has elevated Davis Fisher to the second assistant spot after serving one season as the graduate assistant with the Railsplitters. Fisher played an integral role in what was a prolific season for the Railsplitters in 2013-14. With Fisher on staff, Lincoln Memorial repeated as the South Atlantic Conference regular season champion while breaking the league's single-season record for wins with 28. Additionally, LMU won its first SAC tournament title since 2011 and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Southeast Regional for the third-straight season. ,
"It was apparent after getting to work with Davis this past season that he has all the things we look for in our coaches," Schertz said. "He has a high intelligence level, outstanding work ethic, and his interpersonal skills are tremendous."
Coach Schertz has filled his graduate assistant spots with two former D-1 hoopers, Jeremiah Samarrippas and Omar Wattad.
"I am really excited to add both Jeremiah Samarrippas and Omar Wattad to our coaching staff in graduate assistant positions," added Schertz. "Both were tremendous college players, and as self-made players they have a natural inclination to teach. We are excited to add two young guys with such high potential to our coaching staff."
Samarrippas moves into a coaching role after completing his eligibility at Tennessee Tech this past season. During his senior campaign, Samarrippas posted 10.4 points, 4.8 assists, 2.5 boards and 1.3 steals per game for the Golden Eagles. Samarrippas notched comparable numbers his first season in the purple and gold after transferring from Southern Methodist.
A native of Bartow, Fla., Samarrippas was the 5A-Florida High School Athletic Association Player of the Year while finishing third in Florida's Mr. Basketball voting. In his final season at Bartow Senior High School, he led his team to a 25-5 record and the 5A State Championship.
A product of nearby Johnson City, Tenn., Omar Wattad steps into a graduate assistant position fresh off of professional stint with Hapoel Holon (Israel), associated with the Energy Invest Rustavi club team in Georgia. Prior to that, Wattad graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2012. At the time of his graduation, Wattad ranked fourth all-time at UTC for career three-point field goals, fifth in three-point field goal attempts and 30th in scoring in the D-I era. Wattad compiled 820 points, 230 boards and 119 assists in two seasons with the Mocs. The Sociology major transferred to UTC after playing two years as a reserve guard for Georgetown.
Wattad finished his prep career at Science Hill High School as the program's all-time leading scorer with 2,191 points. He was a two-time all-state selection as well as a two-time region MVP.
The Railsplitters will by vying for a third-consecutive South Atlantic Conference title during the 2014-15 campaign, which kicks off on November 14 in Tex Turner Arena against Lees-McRae in the SAC/Conference Carolinas Challenge.