CLEMSON, SC – Rick Ray has been hired as associate head coach for the men’s basketball program. Head Coach Brad Brownell made the announcement Friday. Ray comes to Tigertown after a successful four-year stint as an assistant coach at Purdue University.
“Rick’s a tremendous hire for us here at Clemson,” Brownell said. “I’ve known Rick for years. He worked with my college head coach, Royce Waltman, at Indiana State several years ago. He’s an outstanding basketball coach. He’s a tremendous recruiter. He knows motion offense and man-to-man defense. We have very similar philosophies with how the game should be played. He’s well-respected in the business.
“He has ties to the Midwest, which will allow us to spread our recruiting base a little bit further. He’s got experience in one of the top conferences, having coached at Purdue. He’s going to help our team win.”
Ray was an assistant coach from 2006-10 under Matt Painter at Purdue, where the Boilermakers won 103 games during his four years on staff. Included in the team’s 103 wins were 15 victories over top-25 competition. During his tenure, Purdue advanced in the NCAA Tournament each season – including to the Sweet 16 each of the past two seasons.
In 2009, the Boilermakers won the Big Ten Tournament and were a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In 2010, Ray helped the Boilermakers to 29 wins, tied for the most in Purdue history for a single season. Purdue was a No. 4 seed this past March and lost in the round of 16 to eventual NCAA champion Duke.
Ray was a part of the 2006-07 Purdue staff that signed arguably the top class in school history, a group that was rated No. 5 nationally by Scout.com and No. 6 by Rivals.com. During his time at Purdue, Ray coached five first-team All-Big Ten players, including Robbie Hummel and E’Twaun Moore this past season. He also coached multiple Big Ten All-Defensive Team selections, led by three-time honoree Chris Kramer.
“First and foremost, I’ve got a great deal of respect for Coach Brownell,” Ray said. “I’ve never worked under him, but I’ve always been around him through different associations. He is a guy that’s always on the right path, in terms of trying to do things the right way. He’s a great coach and teacher. He will install discipline in a program. Coach Brownell has always won every place he’s been.”
Ray coached with Clemson’s director of basketball operations, Dick Bender, at Indiana State for seven seasons from 1997-2004. He helped ISU to consecutive 20-win seasons and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1999-2000 and 2000-01. In 1999-2000, the Sycamores compiled a 14-4 record in the Missouri Valley Conference and won the regular season title. Indiana State then won the MVC Tournament the following season. The Sycamores went on to upset No. 4 seed Oklahoma by a score of 70-68 in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
Ray was also part of the ISU staff that defeated perennial power Indiana in back-to-back seasons. The Sycamores defeated the Hoosiers in Bloomington by a score of 63-60 on Dec. 11, 1999, Bob Knight’s final season at Indiana. Then, the following season, ISU won 59-58 with a buzzer-beater at home over Mike Davis’ squad.
Following his time at Indiana State, he spent two seasons (2004-06) as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Northern Illinois. In 2005-06, the Huskies were regular season Western division champions in the Mid-American Conference with a 17-11 overall record, 12-6 in the MAC.
Ray’s first coaching job was as a graduate assistant with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, a Division II program. He helped orchestrate a seven-win turnaround in his second season, 1996-97. He was a standout player for Grand View College, where he was an All-American Scholar-Athlete and honorable mention all-conference performer in 1993.
Ray earned his undergraduate degree in applied mathematics and secondary education from Grand View in 1994. He earned his master’s degree in athletic administration from Nebraska-Omaha in 1997. He and his wife, Breyana, were married on Saturday, May 1. Ray has a daughter, Katriece (16).