Head Coach Nick Hager
Office Phone: 304-829-7269
After a national search, Juniata College assistant coach Nick Hager has been selected as the new head men’s basketball and men’s tennis coach at Bethany, as announced Friday by the College’s Director of Athletics & Recreation Brian Rose.
”We are thrilled to welcome Nick to Bethany as our next men’s basketball and men’s tennis head coach,” said Rose. “Nick’s experience at a strong program like Juniata and the direction he wants to take the program is what made him stand out from the over 100 applications we received. We believe Nick’s plan will not only ensure our continued success on the court, where we’ve reached the postseason 11 consecutive seasons, but will also help develop our players into strong students in the classroom and leaders in the Bethany and surrounding communities.”
Hager comes to Bethany for his first head coaching position after serving as an assistant coach with the Golden Eagles for the last five seasons. During that time, Juniata posted an overall record of 82-55 while earning back-to-back Eastern College Athletic Conference South Regional Championships in 2012-13 and 2013-14. In the 2014 ECAC semifinals, Juniata came to Bethany, who was the top seed in the tournament, and knocked off the Bison before defeating Hood (Md.) College in the championship game.
The high water mark for Juniata during Hager’s tenure came in the 2012-13 season, as he helped lead the Golden Eagles to a 21-9 record, which included a 9-5 mark in the Landmark Conference, a league which features perennial Top 25 contenders Catholic (D.C.) University and the University of Scranton. In the previous season, Hager helped the team to 19 wins and was a member of the staff that was named the Landmark’s Coaching Staff of the Year.
During his five seasons, Hager helped develop six All-Landmark Conference selections, as well as two CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees.
Prior to his five years as a coach at Juniata, Hager spent two seasons at Auburn University where he served as a graduate assistant in the Tigers’ Compliance office. In 2009, he graduated from Auburn with a Master’s of Education in Administration in Higher Education and Sports Management.
Hager received his Bachelor of Arts from Juniata in 2007, where he served as a four-year letterwinner, three-year starter and two-year captain of the Golden Eagles basketball team. A defensive-minded presence, Hager still ranks third on the Eagle’s all-time list in career-steals (144). That defense-first mentality comes out in Hager when asked what to expect from the Bison on the court.
Nick becomes the second Hager family member to patrol the sidelines for the Bison, as his brother Nate served as an assistant coach for two seasons. Under head coach Rob Clune, Nate helped lead the Bison to a 21-8 record in the 2001-02 season. That year, the Bison captured the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship and reached the second round of the NCAA National Tournament. Following his tenure at Bethany, Nate also became a college head coach, as he just recently finished his eighth season as the head coach of Regis College (Mass.).
Hager is also part of the second generation of basketball coaches from the Hager family, as his father Bill had a legendary career in Northwestern, Pa. Most notably, Hager spent 14 years as the head boys coach at Franklin High School, where he led the Knights to five District 10 titles and a PIAA Class AAA State Championship in 2001. Overall in more than 35 years of coaching, Hager collected 672 victories.
The team that Hager will be inheriting is poised to continue that tradition of high-caliber basketball that the Bison have produced. Bethany has won a PAC-record 14 conference championships, earned eight trips to the NCAA National Championship Tournament, and appeared in the ECAC Championship Tournament on five separate occasions. Overall, the program has made an unprecedented 11 consecutive postseason appearances, a pedigree of college basketball which is not lost on Hager:
“One of the things I am most looking forward to is becoming a part of the great tradition that is Bethany basketball,” remarked Hager of the opportunity. “I have had a chance to meet a few alumni from the team and I look forward to getting the chance to meet with more of the men that left such an imprint on the institution and the program as a whole. You can be sure that my staff and I will work tirelessly to make sure that the tradition of greatness continues and that we put a product on the court that all of our alumni can be proud of.”
“I would like to thank Brian Rose and the entire search committee for the opportunity that has been given to me,” said Hager. “In just one visit to the campus, I felt the family atmosphere that the College has to offer. There seems to be a great relationship throughout the campus community, and I’m looking forward to being able to enhance the Bethany name both on and off the court.”
Assistant Coach Kwasi Amponsah
Office Phone: 304-829-7172
Kwasi Amponsah is entering his second season as a member of the Bethany men’s basketball coaching staff and will handle day-to-day duties including individual workouts, recruiting and film management.
Amponsah helped the Bethany men's basketball team to an 18-11 mark during the 2014-15 campaign, which included a trip to the Eastern College Athletic Conference South Regional Championship Tournament, and a first-round victory over top-seeded Penn State Behrend. During his first year as an assistant, the Bison also posted an 11-5 mark in PAC play.
In his first year, Amponsah helped coach senior guard Delonte' Joyce to PAC Player of the Year honors. Scoring 19.1 points per game, and ranking fourth in the Nation in steals per game (3.2).
As a team, Coach Amponsah helped the Bison rank first in the Presidents' Athletic Conference in steals per game (10.1) as well as turnover ratio (+3.66) as the Green & White forced opponents' into 16.6 turnovers per contest. The team also ranked fourth in the PAC in scoring defense (68.4), and third in blocked shots per game (3.6).
Amponsah arrives at Bethany after a distinguished playing career at Roanoke College, where he was a two-time captain and led the Old Dominion Athletic Conference in scoring during his junior season (18.4). The two-time All-ODAC selection also ranks 5th all-time in school history with 173 career steals. He graduated Roanoke with a degree in business in 2013.
A native of Woodbridge, Virginia, Amponsah will be enrolled in Bethany’s Master of Arts in Teaching program in 2014.