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Delaware State tabs UMBC assistant Eric Skeeters as next head coach

Eric Skeeters was an assistant coach for UMBC last season. If you recall, 16 seed UMBC upset 1 seed Virginia in the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Virginia vs UMBC Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Five months after firing Keith Walker, Delaware State University has hired Eric Skeeters as its next men’s basketball coach.

And the Hornets are hoping he can bring some Retriever magic to Dover.

Fresh off helping his team pull off the greatest upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament, the former UMBC assistant will look to create another miracle, this time in the MEAC.

Skeeters will be the 13th head coach for the Hornets, who have appeared in the NCAA Tournament just once, losing in the first round to Duke in 2005. They have also appeared in the NIT twice and the CBI once.

“Coach Skeeters was a vital part of our historic run at UMBC this past season,” UMBC coach Ryan Odom said in a statement. “I have seen first-hand the impact that he had on our players in helping them reach both their academic and athletic goals. Delaware State is getting an excellent coach, a proven motivator, an excellent recruiter and a guy who will excel in every aspect of the job.”

Skeeters has plenty of experience in coaching and familiarity with the MEAC.

He is a graduate of Coppin State University and was an assistant coach on the staff the 15 seed 1997 team that upset No. 2 South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. He told The Undefeated that his role on that Coppin team, his first coaching job, was to keep stats, work out players and handle “the business side of the team.”

Before Coppin State, Skeeters played college basketball and lacrosse at CCBC-Catonsville, a JUCO just two miles away from UMBC. A knee injury there ended his collegiate playing career.

Skeeters has worked in college basketball for 21 years. In addition to Coppin State, he has also been an assistant coach at Youngstown State, Virginia Tech, Towson, George Mason, and South Florida. He has worked under Odom, Fang Mitchell, Stan Heath, Paul Hewitt and Seth Greenberg.

“Skeets has an infectious personality that will win over his players and the university community,” Greenberg said in Delaware State’s press release. “I’m excited for Eric and his family, along with the future of the Delaware State basketball program.”

This will be the first head coaching gig for Skeeters, who is the first official hire by Delaware State’s new athletic director, Scott Gines.

Under its previous coach, Walker, Delaware State went 43-96 overall and 27-44 in MEAC play. Walker was fired in February and Keith Johnson served as the interim. The Hornets finished the 2017-18 season with a 4-28 record, winning just two MEAC games. They were ranked second-to-last nationally in KenPom, checking in at 350th in adjusted efficiency margin.

Skeeters is the second UMBC assistant to get a head coaching job this offseason. Griff Aldrich was hired at Longwood in March.

“Delaware State University is a unique opportunity and I look forward to putting together a staff and team that will enable us to create something special,” Skeeters said. “As a MEAC grad, my goal from day one will be to recruit, coach and develop champions on the court, in the classroom and in the community.”