Photo Courtesy of Dakota Hamilton - ETSU
BANNER ELK, N.C. – Keith "Mister" Jennings has been named the new Lees-McRae Head Women's Basketball Coach, announced the Vice President Director of Athletics and Club Sports Craig McPhail Friday. Jennings has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach for LMC's men's basketball program, while also serving as the Head Coach of the JV squad.
"First of all I want to thank God for blessing me with another wonderful opportunity to impact the lives of our students at Lees-McRae College," said Jennings. "When I received the news from Craig I was instantly excited and thankful. The lady Bobcats will receive coaching and teaching that will make them better on and off the basketball court. For everyone that prayed for me, supported me and believed in me, I say THANK YOU!!! LET'S GO LADY BOBCATS! THE PROCESS CONTINUES!"
"In looking for our next Head Women's Basketball Coach we wanted someone who was very relational and credible," McPhail said. "Building our young women with strong fundamentals while playing the game they love. Keith's experience at ETSU is one of folklore, the time spent in the NBA gives him great respect and being on our campus for the past several years provided him with familiarity of who we are. Being a point guard, he was a natural leader on the floor and this is what we are looking forward to seeing from him as he guides our women's basketball program."
Prior to beginning his coaching career, Jennings played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Golden State Warriors (1992-95) and the Denver Nuggets (1996-97). During his time at Golden State, Jennings was an assist machine while dishing out 614 while grabbing 248 rebounds. He shot 85.2% from the charity stripe and appeared in 164 games in three seasons. During the 1994-95 season, Jennings knocked down 75 three-pointers while amassing 589 points and turning in 1722 minutes.
He earned All-Star accolades on four occasions while playing European Professional Basketball. He led Brandt Hagen (Germany) to a playoff appearance in 1991 before garnering the three-point champion award and a second round playoff appearance with Estudiantes (Spain) during the 1995-96 season.
In 1999, Jennings was tabbed Player of the Year while playing for Le Man (France) and took his squad to the second round of the playoffs.
Jennings played collegiately at East Tennessee State University where he led the Buccaneers to three consecutive Southern Conference championships (1989-91), while earning the Southern Conference Player of the Year and Southern Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player award as a senior (1991). In 1991, he earned Second-Team All-American merits by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the Associated Press.
Jennings ranks fourth all-time in ETSU program scoring (1,988 points) and holds multiple records, including career totals for assists (983) and steals (334), single season records for assists per game (9.1) and steals per game (3.4), and single game marks for assists (19) and free throws made (18). Jennings was lights out from beyond the arc, owning a career 3-point field goal percentage of 49.3. His mark of 59 percent from 3-point-range led the country in 1991. In 2013, Jennings was honored by his alma mater as he was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Following his playing career, Jennings stayed close to home while being the head coach for the boy's varsity team at Highland School in Warrenton, Va. (2004-07) and the assistant coach at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn. (2008-09). Jennings returned to ETSU in 2008 as a graduate assistant coach.
Jennings wore multiple hats at Bluefield College (2009-14) in Bluefield, Va. while he was the head coach for the men's JV team and assistant coach to the varsity squad. The Rams won the Appalachian Athletic Conference Championship in 2009-10.