Meridian, Miss. -- Dale Brown is out and Nathan Courtney is in as the new men’s basketball coach at Meridian Community College, according to college president Dr. Scott Elliott.
Elliott explained that shortly after agreeing to become MCC’s new cage coach that Brown was offered a more lucrative university-level job in Georgia; therefore, the Eagles immediately turned to Courtney. A Mississippi native, Courtney comes to MCC with 11 years of college and university coaching experience, most recently as an assistant coach at Indian Hills Community College (Ottumwa, Iowa) – indisputably one of the nation’s premier junior college programs.
“My belief is that most things work out as they are intended,” Elliott said. “I certainly feel that’s the case here. We were excited about Dale Brown, who enjoyed a prolific playing career on both the junior college and university levels, but we’re not in the business of holding people back. In Dale’s case, I believe he accepted our position in good faith, but he was then offered a job at Clark University in Atlanta that was going to pay him considerably more than we could offer. Dale’s got a wife and three kids to provide for, so all we could do was be happy for him from a personal perspective.”
That said, Elliott expressed gratification that MCC was able to quickly turn to Courtney, originally from Lumberton, Mississippi. Besides Indian Hills, Courtney has coaching stints at Missouri State, Marshalltown Community College, Barton College, and the University of Dubuque. Moreover, he has worked summer camps for the University of Iowa.
“The fact that Nathan is coming to us from Indian Hills kind of says it all,” Elliott noted. “Indian Hills has one of the richest basketball traditions in junior college sports history. At one time, Indian Hills won three consecutive NJCAA national championships – the only college to ever accomplish that. During Nathan’s time on the Indian Hills staff, the college went to the NJCAA national tournament twice. So, he’s been to the big show, and he knows what it takes to get there as a coach.”
As an assistant coach, Courtney has helped to build consistently winning programs with a total record of 141-33 (81 percent victorious) and coached 32 players who went on to play at NCAA Division I colleges. He has also coached seven players who went on to play professional basketball.
“The committee which interviewed our finalists for head coach felt like we had three candidates who were pretty much even-Steven in terms of their credentials and presentations,” Elliott noted. “We felt like any one of the three would be a great choice, so it’s not like we’re settling for Nathan Courtney. On the contrary, we feel that we’re very fortunate to have Coach Courtney on board with us.”
After a stellar high school career, Courtney went on to start three years and become team captain at the University of Dubuque in Iowa, where he earned a BS degree. He went on to also earn a masters degree at the University of Northern Iowa.
Courtney and his wife, Ann, are the proud parents of three children, William, Samuel and Camryn. He is scheduled to begin his duties at MCC July 1.