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(Auburn SID Photo)
Jeff Lebo is returning to
North Carolina, this time as the frontman of the East Carolina
The former UNC-Chapel Hill
guard was chosen by athletics director Terry Holland to succeed Mack
McCarthy as the Pirates’ coach. He arrives in Greenville with a 211-156
career record and 12 years of head coaching experience.
Lebo was among several
candidates involved in the search, a process that also included current
Kansas assistant Joe Dooley, Wright State head coach Brad Brownell, ECU
assistant Michael Perry, and former UNC-Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz.
Lebo interviewed for the
position last Thursday, and it didn’t take long for Holland to extend an
“Jeff Lebo has established
a well-deserved reputation as a 'program turner,’” Holland said. “He has
a proven track record as a player, as an assistant coach and as a head
“When you combine those
attributes with his desire for his family to be located in eastern North
Carolina, it gives me great comfort that we have the opportunity to
establish something very special for our basketball program over the
next few decades under Jeff's leadership.”
Lebo’s familiarity with
North Carolina, and even more specifically Eastern North Carolina, was a
major draw for Holland. Lebo’s wife has strong family ties to the area,
which could make him less likely to bolt should other programs target
But even more appealing
was Lebo’s track record as a head coach, especially at Tennessee Tech.
When he arrived at Tech, the Golden Eagles were fresh off of three
losing seasons in four years and hadn’t won 20 games since the 1946-47
Lebo proceeded to turn
Tech around as the overall record improved each year he was there. In
four seasons he was named the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year
three times, and the Golden Eagles claimed the regular season
championship in each of his last two campaigns.
That was punctuated by the
2001-02 season when the Golden Eagles finished 27-7 and earned an NIT
berth. He left the following season for Chattanooga, where he spent two
years and averaged 20 wins per season.
Lebo comes to Greenville
after serving the past six seasons as the Auburn head coach. His tenure
there wasn’t as successful as his previous two schools, though the
Tigers did win 24 games and make it to the NIT quarterfinals following
the 2008-09 season.