WALESKA, Ga. -- Jason Gillespie and Matt Stearsman have joined the Reinhardt University athletic department as the head coach and as an assistant coach, respectively, for the men's basketball team. Gillespie, who has been a head coach at the collegiate level for nine years, is in charge of handling all aspects associated with Reinhardt's intercollegiate men's basketball program, which competes in NAIA Division II and the Appalachian Athletic Conference, with Stearsman serving as his top assistant.
Gillespie takes over for Jeffrey Pourchier, who spent the last five seasons as the Eagles' head coach. Pourchier was recently named as the head men's basketball coach at NAIA Division I Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga.
"We are very excited to have Jason Gillespie take the helm of our men's basketball program," Reinhardt athletic director Bill Popp said. "Jason brings many years of experience and has taken teams to conference championships and to the national level during his coaching career. He will be a great asset to the basketball team, the athletic department, as well as the University.
"Matt Stearsman is another great addition to our athletic department. Matt brings a lot of experience on the court and is a great role model for our basketball players off the court. We are very fortunate to have someone of his caliber to assist our new head coach."
Gillespie comes to Reinhardt from Virginia Intermont College, an AAC member located in Bristol, Va. He spent the past three seasons as the athletic director and head men's basketball coach at Cincinnati (Ohio) Christian University -- where he guided the school's move to NAIA membership -- after four successful years at Bluefield (Va.) College, which is also affiliated with the AAC. As the head men's basketball coach at Bluefield, Gillespie was twice named the AAC Coach of the Year and led the Rams to three straight NAIA Division II national tournament appearances in 2007, 2008 and 2009. His final team at Bluefield in 2008-09 finished 27-7 overall, a perfect 18-0 in conference regular-season play and ranked eighth nationally. Gillespie was the head men's basketball coach and an assistant athletic director at Cincinnati Christian from 2003-05 after being at King College in Bristol, Tenn., from 2000-03. At King, he was an assistant men's basketball coach, the head coach of the junior varsity men's basketball squad, the head men's golf coach and the athletic facility coordinator. Gillespie was an administrative assistant coach with the men's basketball program at NCAA Division I Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville from 1998-2000 and he began his coaching career as an assistant men's basketball coach and the head JV coach at NCAA Division III Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C.
In 1997, Gillespie received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history with a coaching minor from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. He went on to earn a master's degree at Tennessee Tech in 2000.
"Reinhardt's a growing institution and the opportunity to get back in the conference where we had some success when we were at Bluefield was very exciting to me," Gillespie said. "This is a great area to live in and there are a lot of positives.
"I'm really glad to have Matt as an assistant. He comes from a great background and I'm excited to have someone with his experience on board as a coach and as a recruiter. We've got some big shoes to fill following Jeff (Pourchier) and the job he did here and the direction he has the program going."
Gillespie was born in Corydon, Ind., but he grew up in Jackson, Tenn. He and his wife Cindy plan to live in the Canton, Ga., area with their two children, sons Keilan (born March 2, 2004) and Corydon (born Nov. 18, 2011).
Stearsman spent the past two campaigns as an assistant men's basketball coach at NCAA Division II Gannon University in Erie, Pa. He was an assistant coach and then associate head men's basketball coach at NAIA Division I St. Catharine (Ky.) College from 2008-10, where he also served as the head JV coach. Stearsman has also been an assistant men's basketball coach at NCAA Division II Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus (2007-08); NAIA Division I power Oklahoma City (Okla.) University (2005-07); and NCAA Division II Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro (2002-05). While at OCU, the Stars won the national championship in 2007 and were the national runners-up the previous year. Stearsman started his coaching career as an assistant boys basketball coach at his alma mater, Hopkins County Central High School in Madisonville, Ky., in 2001-02.
In 2006, Stearsman acquired his bachelor's degree in English at Oklahoma City. In high school, he played both basketball and baseball.
"I've known about the area and Reinhardt from coaching in the South and I know the strides the basketball program was making," Stearsman said. "I'm excited to be here and hopefully we can take the next step and get this program to the national tournament. This is a great opportunity and I'm really excited about the growth of the school as well."
Originally from Mortons Gap, Ky., Stearsman now resides in Blue Ridge, Ga., with his wife Jennifer and their son Brice (born June 3, 2010).
The Eagles ended 18-12 overall last season, including 11-5 in AAC play for second place. For the second consecutive year, Reinhardt advanced to the AAC Tournament championship game but lost a close decision, falling just short of earning the conference's automatic bid to the NAIA Division II national tournament.