By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico
A Division II coach in Indiana, a junior college coach with university ties, and a Division I assistant are finalists to be the next men’s basketball coach at Eastern New Mexico University.
Greg Young of Jacksonville College in Jacksonville, Texas, an assistant under Earl Diddle from 1991-94, joins Richard Davis of St. Joseph’s University and Andrew Helton of Southern Alabama as finalists to take over for Shawn Scanlan, who was let go in March after nine seasons at the helm. The Greyhounds were 4-23 this season.
“They all have significant strengths,” said Don Elder, an ENMU history professor who chaired the search committee. “They’re not three carbon copies of each other. We’ll have a good choice to make between guys who are good at everything and really good at a few things.”
Elder said Helton is scheduled for a campus visit Monday and Tuesday. Young is set to come April 20-21, and Elder said the university is trying to schedule Davis between those two.
A decision would be made by President Steven Gamble, Elder said, as quickly as possible. The position will pay in the high $60,000 to low $70,000 range.
If local connection is a strength, Young is more than covered. He was an assistant under Earl Diddle when the Greyhounds made their first Division II Sweet 16 appearance in 1992, he played basketball at Howard Payne when it was a Lone Star Conference member, and he has an assistant coach (Cinco Boone of Portales) and an area player (Bryce Hill of Clovis) with the Jaguars.
“I’m humbled that I’m having an opportunity to visit with them about the job,” Young said. “Eastern’s very special to me, always has been. It was a great experience when I was there previously. The university, the community and all the people who were so good to me in those three years, it will always be special.
“I have a good job here, I love my job, but Eastern’s very special.”
Davis, 49-37 in three seasons leading the Division II Pumas in Rensselaer, Ind., said playing Lone Star Conference teams got him interested in the chance to rebuild the Greyhound program.
“I know Tarleton (State) … I know Midwestern State. I know the Lone Star definitely has a lot of competition,” Davis said. “It’s a tough conference, but playing in the (Great Lakes Valley Conference) I’ve seen some of the best basketball. We play top-ranked teams throughout the season.”
Davis, who took over after two years as an assistant, said the Greyhounds intrigued him because he wanted a chance to build a program from the ground up and bring excitement to the university and Portales.
“We wanted to see success in rebuilding a program,” Elder said, “and we feel all three of those individuals demonstrated they have that ability.”
Helton has been an assistant at South Alabama for two seasons, as the Jaguars have gone 46-20 with one NCAA tournament appearance. He spent six seasons as an assistant for Texas A&M Corpus-Christi, which went 107-64 during his time there.
Efforts to contact Helton were unsuccessful.