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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Arkansas names former SDSU head coach as Director of Scouting and Assistant to the Head Coach

University of Arkansas head basketball coach Eric Musselman has named former University of South Dakota head basketball coach Todd Lee the Razorbacks’ Director of Scouting and Assistant to the Head Coach.

Lee and Musselman have a relationship that spans 30-plus years. Lee was on Musselman’s staff with the Rapid City Thrillers from 1992-94 after serving three years (1989-92) as an assistant coach under legendary University of San Diego head coach Hank Egan, who was Musselman’s coach with the Toreros. Also, Lee mentored 2021-22 Razorback Stanley Umude to three All-Summit League honors while playing at South Dakota.

In addition to his connections with Musselman, Lee’s has ties to Northwest Arkansas as his parents – M.O. and Wanda – lived in Bentonville for over 20 years after his father retired.

“Todd is exceptionally detailed and specific,” Musselman said. “He is a veteran coach and he’s here to serve as an additional pair of eyes. He will bring new ideas to the staff on how to view things, how to scheme on both ends of the court and how to attack things. It’s always been a collective deal on our staffs. We are always looking for ideas and input which is why and how our staff has been assembled. One of the things about being a former head coach is, when you’re not a head coach, you know what it takes to be a great assistant and Todd Lee will be a perfect fit in that regard.”

Lee, a two-time conference Coach of the Year and finalist for national Coach of the Year, spent four seasons as head coach at the University of South Dakota and has 12 years of collegiate head coaching experience to his credit. He was 66-52 at South Dakota (2018-22) and was 154-81 in eight years at Kentucky Wesleyan (2005-13). Lee has also been an assistant coach at Southwestern CC (1986-89), Cal State Bakersfield (1994-97), UC Irvine (1997-2005) and Grand Canyon (2013-18).

Lee led South Dakota to a 19-12 record in 2021-22, including a 12-5 mark down the stretch after a two-week shutdown of the program due to COVID, while reaching the Summit League semifinals.

Prior to South Dakota, Lee spent five seasons as the associate head coach at Grand Canyon University, helping the Antelopes to a 103-58 record. He served under former NBA All-Star Dan Majerle and the program accumulated 81 wins during the four-year transition to Division I, beginning in Lee’s first year with GCU. The number of wins is the most by any program that has made the leap into Division I.

In his five years at GCU, Lee mentored five first team all-WAC selections, four second team honorees, four all-defensive team selections and a WAC Freshman of the Year. Additionally, Josh Braun, a three-time all-conference honoree, was a three-time Academic All-American, including two first-team nods.

Lee came to Grand Canyon after eight seasons at Kentucky Wesleyan. After taking over a program with limited scholarships due to NCAA sanctions, Lee had only 20 wins in his first two seasons with the Panthers. However, he went 24-8 in year three and made the first of five consecutive NCAA Division II tournament appearances.

The highlight was the 2012 campaign when Lee led Kentucky Wesleyan to a trip to the Sweet 16 and a No. 1 national ranking during the year. The program ended the season ranked in the top 25 on four occasions and the Panthers averaged 22 wins over Lee’s final six season with .736 win percentage (134-48).

Lee coached five first team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) selections and 14 total all-conference performers including Jeff Fahnbulleh, the 2007-08 GLVC Player of the Year. Lee was named the 2008 GLVC Coach of the Year in 2008, the NABC Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 2010 and a finalist for the prestigious Clarence ‘Big House’ Gaines Division II National Coach of the Year in 2012.

He spent eight seasons (1887-05) as an assistant coach at UC-Irvine with the final four as associate head coach under Pat Douglass. The Anteaters claimed a pair of Big West Conference Championships and captured three-straight 20-win seasons for the first time in program history.

UC-Irvine also played in the National Invitation Tournament in 2001 and 2002. Lee also served as an assistant under Douglass for three years at CSU-Bakersfield, compiling a 75-16 record and capturing the 1997 NCAA Division II National Championship. In all three years (1994-97), the Roadrunners advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Lee spent two years (1992-94) as an assistant coach for the Rapid City Thrillers of the CBA under Musselman. While with the Thrillers, Lee organized and coached the first CBA or NBA professional basketball team to tour China and compete against the Chinese National Army, posting a 5-0 record in 1992.

Lee’s coaching career started as an assistant at Southwestern College (1986-89) before being named assistant coach at the University of San Diego (1989-1992). A native of Huron, South Dakota, Lee graduated from South Dakota in 1986 with a degree in business administration. He received his master’s degree in education from Azusa Pacific in 2003. Lee has three sons, Carson, Jackson and Peyton.

TODD LEE FAST FACTS Born: February 20, 1964 Hometown: Huron, South Dakota Alma Mater: South Dakota, 1986 Children: Carson, Jackson and Peyton Education: South Dakota (1986 – Bachelor’s in Business Administration); Azusa Pacific (2003 – Master’s in Education)

COACHING CAREER 1986–1989 Southwestern CC (Assistant Coach) 1989–1992 San Diego (Assistant Coach) 1992–1994 Rapid City Thrillers (Assistant Coach) 1994–1997 Cal State Bakersfield (Assistant Coach) 1997–2005 UC Irvine (Assistant Coach) 2005–2013 Kentucky Wesleyan (Head Coach) 2013–2018 Grand Canyon (Assistant Coach) 2018–2022 South Dakota (Head Coach) 2022-pres. Arkansas (Director of Scouting and Assistant to the Head Coach)

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