Mullins named to lead Cougar basketball
by The Press and Standard | July 11, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: July 10, 2018 at 2:22 pm
By CINDY CROSBY
Colleton County High School named Matthew Mullins as the new varsity head coach for the Cougar basketball team last week. Athletic Director Leon Hammond confirmed Tuesday July 3 that Mullins will lead the boys’ basketball program in the 2018-19 season.
Mullins is replacing coach Jacob Smith, who resigned in early May after accepting a position as the head coach at AAAAA Fort Dorchester. Last season, Smith led the Cougars to an 18-7 overall record and finished 7-3 in Region 8-AAAA. The Cougars advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06.
As a certified teacher with a B.S. in physical education from Winthrop University in Rock Hill and a M.E.S. in educational leadership and supervision from Liberty University in Virginia, Mullins will teach physical education at CCHS.
Since 2014, he has served as the junior varsity and varsity assistant at Goose Creek High School, where he earned back-to-back region titles in 2016-17 and 2017-18 and recorded an 83-percent winning record with his JV team.
As an assistant on the varsity, Mullins helped coach eight seniors across four seasons to further their careers at the collegiate level. During that time, Goose Creek made the playoffs each season and captured their first-ever undefeated Region VII-AAAA championship title.
Prior to his stint at Goose Creek, Mullins served as the JV head coach and varsity assistant at First Baptist School of Charleston (2011-14) during which time they captured the 2012 SCISA AA State Championship. He served as the head coach for the Low Country Elite AAU 10th Grade Basketball (2014), Carolina Cavaliers 9th grade travel team (2013) and Carolina Cavaliers 8th grade team (2012). In addition, he served as a student-assistant to the Winthrop University basketball team during which they captured the Big South Championship in his junior year.
As player, Mullins was the point guard for First Baptist School of Charleston from 2002-2007 and helped lead the team to the SCISA State Playoffs during his senior season.
“I started as a student assistant at Winthrop University under Coach Randy Peele,” said Mullins. “After graduating, I got my first job as the JV head coach and varsity assistant at First Baptist School where we won a State Championship in 2012. During that time, I also coached AAU basketball before deciding I wanted to focus solely on high school basketball. After coaching at First Baptist, I moved to Goose Creek in the same position. While at Goose Creek, we had some good years. In 2017, we finished 22-3 and only lost to one team from South Carolina. I’ve been very fortunate to work with winning programs and now I’m ready to run my own.”
What interested him about Colleton County? Mullins said that it has been his goal for a long time to run a high school basketball program in the Lowcountry. “Colleton County has given me that opportunity,” said Mullins. “It’s a job that after the interview I was very excited about. Colleton County has very nice facilities and I actually coached against athletic director Leon Hammond some years ago. I prayed about this opportunity for a long time and now it’s an answered prayer. I believe this is where I’m supposed to be, and I can’t wait to get started with my players.”
Mullins is excited about the opportunity to continue the recent success of the Cougar basketball team. “I have been lucky to be a part of some winning programs and they all have some things in common, but the number one thing in my opinion is they have a winning culture,” said Mullins. “There are a lot of places with athletes that are extremely talented, but they never make it out of their hometown because a wrong choice knocks them off the path to success. I know that if our kids buy into our core values early, the basketball will take care of itself. I believe that I’m very good at skill development as well as x’s and o’s, so if these kids come in like a sponge ready to soak up knowledge and work hard, we will be headed in the right direction.”
Come winter, Mullings is counting on the community to embrace his team. “I would love to see the community show their support by showing up at games and being loud,” he said. “I want us to have a clear home court advantage and want our gym to be one that other teams are afraid to come to because they know it will be a loud environment.”
Academics will play a big role in the success of Cougar basketball in the winter. “I want to make sure our players are educated on what it takes to be eligible to play collegiate basketball,” said Mullins. “It’s important they learn this in their freshman year so that aren’t caught scrambling to qualify as a senior. Not every player will be gifted enough to play college basketball, but they may be able to get an academic scholarship. I want our kids to be able to have choices about what they do after they finish high school and that starts with academics.”
Mullins is looking forward to meeting the team this week. “I was officially hired during the SCHSL dead period, so I have not been able to meet my guys yet and it’s killing me,” he said. “The wait will be over this Monday and I’m really excited to meet them. They are my number one priority. I want to sit down with the returners as a group, and then individually, to get a feel for what they think about the program and share my vision with them as well.”