Men’s basketball coach Nate Mast resigns, leaves trail of success
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:05
The Parkland men’s basketball team is poised to make a strong run in the 2012-13 season. However, they will have to do so without head coach Nate Mast.
Mast has decided to resign as Parkland men’s basketball coach to become the Director of Basketball Operations at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
“The main decision to make this move had to do with the opportunity at hand for me to pursue my coaching career goals at the next level,” Mast said in an email about his decision to leave Parkland. “There were a lot of other factors that went into this decision, but it ultimately came down to the fact that this was in the best move for me and my family.”
The move from a Division II junior college to a Division I institution is sure to boost Mast’s resume.
“(Mast’s) commitment to all student athletes at Parkland College, his enthusiasm and positive nature and his willingness to tackle almost any task will be truly missed,” Athletic Director Rod Lovett said. “Nate was the true ‘team player’ and he will be very hard to replace.”
Mast spent the last three seasons as the men’s basketball coach.
The Cobras finished 12-18 in Mast’s first season at the helm, a two game improvement in the loss column from the season before.
That was only a preview of the success to come.
Mast went 41-26 in his last two seasons as the head coach. The standout accomplishment from these two seasons was the team achieving a berth to Nationals, the first in 17 years.
It didn’t hurt that Mast brought an abundance of talent to pave the way. Two prime examples are the 2011-12 All-Conference Second Team members Jamel Johnson and Shaquille Lowery. Added to the mix was the All Conference Honorable Mention Cody McCollum.
A lot of accolades and recognition were given to Parkland with Mast as head coach, but he admits those are not the moments he will remember the most.
“I think my favorite moments would have to be the moments, texts, calls, etc. from my players who have thanked me for helping them in some way,” Mast said. “Little do they know they have helped me in a lot of ways, too.”
That off- the-court connection with his players strengthened the belief in his on-the-court strategy.
“I would need to give credit to the players who came in and believed in me and the system we tried to implement,” Mast said. “It's amazing what can be accomplished when everyone works together.”
Lovett also sang Mast’s praise for his efforts during his time at Parkland.
“Despite being here for only three years, Coach Mast will leave a lasting impact on both the Men's basketball job and the Athletic Academic Monitoring position,” Lovett said. “He restored credibility and discipline to the program which lead to improved performance both on the court and in the classroom. He was well respected by his coaching peer's and by his fellow coaches at Parkland College.”
With Mast leaving Parkland, there are a few questions surrounding the basketball program that will need to be answered.
The first of which involves the incoming recruits.
“I called any recruits who had committed or signed and talked them through the situation,” Mast said. “I primarily wanted to describe the situation, and then give them some time to digest and decide what they would like to do, obviously encouraging them to stay since I think this team for next year is ready to win.”
Even with this change, Mast is confident in the immediate future of the program.
“So far, I think everything should transition pretty smoothly,” Mast said. “There may be a couple scholarships left open for the next coach to bring in a couple of 'his' guys, which is probably what any new coach would want.”
This leads to the next question. Who will be the next head coach of Parkland men’s basketball?