Former University of Kentucky basketball player and Evansville, Ind., native Walter McCarty has been hired as the new head coach at the University of Evansville.
In a video posted by Evansville’s athletics Twitter account Thursday morning, highlights of McCarty as a player in Evansville and Kentucky are capped by the new coach telling fans, “Evansville, I’m home.”
McCarty met with Evansville officials and toured the campus Wednesday. He will be introduced as the new head coach at an event at 5:30 p.m. Friday. It is McCarty’s first head coaching position.
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“I could not be more thrilled with the amount of interest we had in our head coaching position, but it became very evident that Walter McCarty was 100 percent the right man for the job,” Evansville Athletics Director Mark Spencer said in a statement announcing the hire. “His personality, experience and infectious energy really set him apart. Nobody would have been able to sell Evansville to recruits like Walter McCarty.”
McCarty, 44, was an Indiana All-Star player for Harrison High School in Evansville before going on to win a national title in 1996 with Kentucky and a 10-year NBA career. He succeeds Marty Simmons, a former Purple Aces player who was let go after 10 seasons as the program’s head coach.
McCarty comes to Evansville after spending the last five years as an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics under Brad Stevens. He broke into coaching under his former Kentucky coach, Rick Pitino, at Louisville in 2007 and took an assistant job with the Indiana Pacers in 2010, serving with another Kentucky connection in UK alumnus Frank Vogel. He also spent a season as a Celtics community relations consultant in 2012-13.
McCarty was selected as the 19th overall pick by the New York Knicks in the 1996 NBA Draft. His NBA career included stints with the Knicks, Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers.
McCarty earned a B.A. in communications at Kentucky in 1996. He and his wife, Erin, have two daughters, Gabrielle and Sasha.
Evansville comes off a two straight disappointing seasons that resulted in a 17-15 record this year and a 7-11 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference.