PERKINSTON — New Mississippi Gulf Coast men's basketball coach Tim Ryan was looking for an assistant, one of his top characteristics was to find a grinder.
He has added someone to his staff with a reputation for pushing himself to elevate his team, hiring Lane Below from Ole Miss as his lead assistant.
"I'm extremely excited," Below said. "It's been a dream of mine to coach college basketball, and I'm thankful and blessed to be at Gulf Coast. I'm excited to get going with Coach Ryan and get this program going."
Below (pronounced "Blue") is a former community college player. He arrives at Perkinston after spending the last two years as a graduate assistant Ole Miss, his alma mater. While on Kermit Davis' staff, he helped the Rebels reach the 2019 NCAA Tournament after reaching as high as No. 18 in the AP poll. The staff sent one player to the NBA and four were named All-SEC during those two seasons.
"When I was looking at hiring an assistant coach, the No. 1 thing I needed was a guy who would work his tail off," Ryan said. "Hiring during the pandemic is a little different, so I contacted several coaches who knew Lane. Everyone I contacted spoke highly of him and mentioned how hard he worked. I loved his enthusiasm and passion during our interviews. Lane has a can-do attitude and is willing to go the extra mile to get the job done. I look forward to working with him to build the program at Gulf Coast."
Below played two seasons for head coach Andy Kennedy at Ole Miss, graduating in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in general studies and making the SEC Academic Honor Roll. While serving as a graduate assistant, he earned a master's in health promotion.
He started his collegiate playing career at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo., where he played for Hall of Fame coach Gene Bess. He earned his associate degree in 2016.
Lane is married to his wife Hannah, also a former NCAA Division I basketball player at Southeast Missouri and Evansville.
He'll now focus his work ethic on the Bulldogs basketball program.
"There's great history here," Below said. "Everybody I've talked to, people I trust throughout the state, told me that Gulf Coast is the best school in the state. Now that I've been on campus and met the administration, I've really enjoyed the process. Coach Ryan made this job super attractive, as well. I appreciate (Athletic Director) Steven Campbell and the Gulf Coast administration giving me this opportunity."
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Top coaches around the country are talking about Gulf Coast's hire:
Kermit Davis, Ole Miss head coach
Lane is a rising young star in our business. Great work ethic, outstanding people skills and has a good understanding of basketball. I'm excited that Lane gets a chance to work for an outstanding coach like Tim Ryan!
Andy Kennedy, UAB head coach
Lane came to us at Ole Miss as a walk-on and made an immediate contribution to our program. He is a tireless worker who was willing to do anything asked of him to help our team. I have no doubt that he will be a very successful coach based on his work ethic and his ability to contribute in a variety of ways!
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Sports Information Director
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College