Former Williams assistant App returning as head basketball coach
When Mike Maker left Williams to take the Marist men’s basketball job, a reporter contacted former Williams assistant coach Kevin App to see if he was interested.
"It would be an honor if Williams would have an interest in me," App responded on Facebook. Twelve days later, App has that job.
Williams made it official Saturday afternoon that App, 28, would be the 12th basketball coach in school history and would replace Maker, who resigned on June 16 to take his new job.
"[App] distinguished himself among perhaps the strongest pool we have had for any search," Williams athletic director Lisa Melendy said in a statement. "Kevin returns to Williams having learned the lessons other strong programs could provide to him."
App was one of four finalists and spent Wednesday on the Williamstown campus meeting with the search committee and a faculty committee. He also spoke with players during a conference call.
"I consider myself humbled and proud to be the head coach at Williams," App said. "I think I’ve been blessed to have worked for three people who have prepared me very well for this opportunity.
"I’m excited to get up there and get to work."
App was a member of Maker’s first staff at Williams in the 2008-09 season as the Ephs were 17-9. Williams won the Little Three championship that season, their first outright title since 1995-96.
"That 14, 15 months left an impact on me," said App, who was on the road recruiting for both his old school and his new one. "I didn’t think I would have the opportunity right now.
"I actually met with coach Maker a few months ago and talked to him about long-term career goals and how do I get in position to get Williams. The next thing you know, it happened two months later."
The new Williams coach said he has already been in contact with some of his returning players. One, senior, Ryan Kilcullen, was on campus last week and helped facilitate conference calls with other players.
"They didn’t have to show me around that much," App said with a laugh.
The new coach was offered the job on Friday after the last of the four finalists came through Williamstown. App said he accepted right away.
App is a 2007 graduate of Cornell where he played for former Boston College coach Steve Donahue. App took a spot on Donahue’s staff during the 2009-10 season when the Big Red went to the NCAA Division I Sweet 16. The Cornell team in 2009-10 was the first Ivy League team to reach the Sweet 16 in 31 years, beating fifth-seeded Temple and fourth-seeded Wisconsin. That team set an Ivy League record with 29 wins.
"He walked into my office and said he wanted to play," Donahue said in an interview with The Eagle. "He became a leader of the group as a freshman. It was obvious to me that he had the ability to lead.
"He’s been around three really good programs that prepared him at a young age."
App took an opening on the Cornell staff when Zack Spiker got the job at Army. The next year, Spiker hired App at West Point.
"The opportunity to be a head coach was always in his future and I am confident he will have success in a great situation at Williams," said Spiker. "Kevin has been a huge part of what we have built at West Point."
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