TUESDAY, MAY 06, 2014
Jasick Brings Three Assistant Coaches on Board
L-R: Azeez Ali, Kurt Kanaskie, Scott Wagers
L-R: Azeez Ali, Kurt Kanaskie, Scott Wagers
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New Jacksonville University men’s basketball head coach Tony Jasick has hit the ground running in his first month in charge of the program. In addition to spending countless hours on the recruiting trail, putting the returning players through workouts and the small matter of moving his family to Florida, he’s also recently completed the core of his coaching staff hiring three assistant coaches.

“When putting our staff together, I wanted to bring in high-character guys who were highly motivated and brought great experience levels to Jacksonville,” said Jasick. “Each of these guys will work every day to put our student-athletes in the best possible situation to succeed on and off the court.”

The first new hire is someone very familiar with Jasick. Azeez Ali spent the last four seasons on the IPFW coaching staff, serving as Jasick’s assistant for the last three seasons. A Delaware native and 2004 graduate of Maryland-Eastern Shore, Ali got his start in the coaching ranks at Cecil Community College in Maryland. In his two seasons at CCC, the Seahawks compiled a 66-5 record and won the 2006-07 NJCAA Division II National Championship. From there he moved onto the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, spending two seasons with the Mocs as Director of Basketball Operations and helping the team advance into the 2008-09 NCAA Tournament.

For the last three seasons as part of Jasick’s IPFW staff, Ali has played a big role in the rise of the Mastodons in the Summit League, turning the program from an afterthought in the conference to one of the league’s most dominant teams.

A veteran of the college basketball world, Kurt Kanaskie began his coaching career after graduating from La Salle in 1980. Starting as an assistant coach at South Carolina for five seasons, Kanaskie landed his first head coaching job at Lock Haven in 1986-87. After three seasons in charge, he took the top job at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and took the Crimson Hawks to unprecedented heights. In 1994-95, IUP earned its first national ranking in school history and advanced to the Division II Elite Eight in the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament. A year later, the team was ranked No. 1 during the regular season and made it all the way to the national semifinals.

Moving up to the Division I ranks, Kanaskie served as head coach of Drake University for seven seasons before being hired on as an assistant coach at Penn State. With the Nittany Lions for another eight seasons, PSU won an NIT Championship in 2008-09 and earned a bid into the 2010-11 NCAA Tournament after he was promoted to Associate Head Coach. Moving with Ed DeChellis to Navy, Kanaskie was the Associate Head Coach with the Midshipmen for one season before spending the last two years as part of the James Johnson staff at Virginia Tech.

The final addition to the staff is Scott Wagers. No stranger to the state of Florida or the Atlantic Sun, Wagers comes to Jacksonville from Lamar, but spent 13 seasons on staff at East Tennessee State. A 1989 graduate of Tennessee Wesleyan, he began as a high school coach in Tennessee before taking over as the head coach of Robinson High School in Tampa, Fla. from 1994-2000. In his time at Robinson, Wagers’ team won four divisional championships and two regional championships while putting together a record of 126-24. Equally impressive, his teams all averaged over 100 points a game in each of his six seasons.

Moving to ETSU beginning in 2000, the Buccaneers made four trips to the NCAA Tournament in his tenure in Johnson City – two in the Southern Conference prior to the program’s transition to the A-Sun. All told, the Bucs made six postseason trips with Wagers on the staff and claimed seven regular season conference titles.

“I am extremely excited about working with Z, Kurt and Scott as we build JU Basketball,” stated Jasick.

Check back for further updates this summer as Jasick completes his first recruiting class and finalizes the 2014-15 schedule.