Greg Gary was named Mercer University's men's basketball head coach on March 26, 2019. He was introduced as the program's new leader at a formal introductory press conference on April 3, 2019.
A veteran coach with 26 years at the NCAA Division I level, Gary spent previous eight seasons working under Matt Painter at Purdue University. He helped the Boilermakers reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight this season and consecutive Sweet 16 appearances in 2017 and 2018.
“When we set out to look for a new head coach, we recognized Greg early in the process as someone we were confident in leading our men’s basketball program,” said Director of Athletics Jim Cole at the time of Gary's hire. “Greg not only stood out for his proven background and style of play, but for the role he has played as a mentor to student-athletes throughout his career as well as his commitment to growing them into leaders off the court. We're so happy for Greg, his wife, Claudia, and his children – Gabrielle, Logan, Alexandra, Brooklyn and Nash – to be joining our Mercer Family.”
Gary has made 16 postseason appearances as a college assistant and player, reaching the NCAA Tournament nine times. Gary was instrumental in helping Purdue reach the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in 2019 and Sweet 16 round in both 2017 and 2018.
His on-court focus for the Boilermakers centered on the development of their wing and post players. Calling Purdue’s offensive sets, Gary helped Purdue lead the Big Ten Conference in scoring in two of the last three seasons with the nation’s second-most efficient offense. The Boilermakers led the Big Ten in three-point percentage and free throw percentage while ranking second nationally in assists per game during the 2016-17 season.
Gary's guidance was significant in the improvement of Purdue standouts Vincent Edwards, Ryan Cline and Dakota Mathias three seasons ago. Edwards made a jump from the power forward to small forward position and led the team in assists while ranking second on the team in scoring and third in rebounding.
In 2014-15, Gary had a large impact on the development of Rapheal Davis, Mathias and Kendall Stephens, helping the Boilermakers to their first NCAA Tournament since 2012. Gary's tutelage helped Davis become the Big Ten's best defensive player, while also improving his offensive game. In Big Ten games only, Davis averaged 12.2 points per game, a 5.3 points per game improvement from his sophomore to his junior season. He has also improved his three-point shooting 132 points from his freshman (.250) to his junior year (.382).
Gary's first season in West Lafayette was a successful one, as he helped guide the Boilers to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth year in a row. Forward Robbie Hummel was named an honorable mention All-American and received first-team All-Big Ten recognition after leading Purdue in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots. Hummel was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft, becoming one of 12 players to be drafted by an NBA franchise or spend time on an NBA roster after receiving Gary's guidance.
In 2012-13, Gary oversaw an influx of youth in the Boilermaker frontcourt and helped guide center A.J. Hammons through one of the finest freshman seasons in program history. Hammons earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors after finishing the season with averages of 10.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. He led the Big Ten with an average of 2.3 blocks per contest in league play, and wrapped up the campaign ranked second on Purdue's freshman charts in blocks (67), third in rebounds (204) and sixth in points (359).
Gary came to Purdue from two stints at Duquesne, where he spent the 2007-08 and 2010-11 seasons as an assistant coach, sandwiched around two seasons as head coach at Centenary. Gary resigned from his post at Centenary after the school announced in July 2009 that it would seek reclassification as an NCAA Division III member. A program that had won a total of 10 Summit League games in the four years prior to Gary's arrival, Centenary posted nine league wins in his two seasons at the helm.
Prior to arriving at Duquesne, Gary spent three seasons (2004-07) as an assistant coach at South Florida, helping the Bulls transition from Conference USA to the Big East. While in Tampa, Gary worked with big man Solomon Jones, who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2006 and played parts of seven seasons in the NBA.
Gary served as an assistant coach under Perry Clark at Miami from 2000-04, helping lead the Hurricanes to the NIT in 2001 and the NCAA Tournament in 2002. During his tenure at Miami, Gary aided in the development of current NBA players James Jones and John Salmons, as well as former NBA player Robert Hite. He also served as the `Canes academic coordinator.
Gary spent six of his first seven years (1993-97, 1998-00) in the coaching industry at Tulane, helping guide his alma mater to the NCAA Tournament in 1995 and the NIT on four occasions. In his second stint with the Green Wave, he also served as the team’s recruiting coordinator and oversaw the players’ academic responsibilities. At Tulane, Gary coaching three players – Jerald Honeycutt, Linton Johnson and Chris Owens – who spent time on NBA rosters.
Gary served as an assistant coach at McNeese State for the 1997-98 campaign. After graduating from Anderson Highland High School in 1988 and spending a year at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., Gary transferred to Tulane. He was a vital component in the revitalization of a program that was dropped in 1985 and reinstated in 1988, leading the Green Wave to the 1992 NCAA Tournament as a senior. Despite playing only three seasons in New Orleans, Gary finished his career as Tulane’s all-time leader in assists and now ranks fifth (370). He is second in career assist-to-turnover ratio (1.97).
A native of Anderson, Indiana, Gary was born on February 14, 1970. Gary earned a B.S. in sport management from Tulane in 1992. He and his wife, Claudia, have four daughters, Gabrielle, Logan, Alexandra and Brooklyn, and one son, Nash.