AURORA, Ill. – Aurora University today announced the hiring of Matt Airy as head coach of the AU men's basketball program.
"We are thrilled that Matt has decided to lead AU men's basketball. I have gotten to know him well over the past few weeks and it is evident that Matt has all of the qualities that we were seeking in our next head coach," said Director of Athletics Jim Hamad. "He helped build and lead one of the most successful programs in college basketball and is motivated to take AU to new heights, but his passion for student development is as impressive. He stresses the importance of creating a culture that fosters success in all areas of intercollegiate athletics and forming meaningful relationships with players. AU has a rich history in men's basketball and we expect the program to flourish under Matt's leadership. We welcome Matt and his wife, Rossi, to the AU community."
In the AU men's basketball program, Airy takes over the reigns as the Spartans are coming off back to back NCAA Tournament appearances including the programs second NCAA win in 2017-2018. The Spartans have 26 consecutive winning seasons a 134-60 record in the last seven seasons with three regular season and three tournament titles in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. In the 13 seasons of the NACC, AU has won seven regular season and six tournament championships.
"I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to serve as the next head men's basketball coach at Aurora University. Coaching in college athletics is about getting student-athletes to where they aspire to be by cultivating an athletic experience which informs their academic pursuits and enriches their education on the whole," said Airy. "In learning about Aurora, it became obvious that the University and its leadership wholeheartedly embrace this same approach to learning and student growth."
Airy comes to AU after spending the previous 11 seasons at Whitman College. In his time at Whitman as an assistant coach and associate head coach, Airy has helped vault Whitman into one of the premier NCAA Division III men's basketball programs. In the last five seasons, they have compiled a 132-16 record with three straight Sweet 16 and one Final Four appearance. Among his strategic responsibilities with the team has been Whitman's high speed fast break. He has assisted in establishing the Blues high-speed offense as one of the most potent in the nation, peaking in 2017-2018 with an average of just under 98 points per game.
"I am thankful beyond words for my time at Whitman, particularly for the chance to work under one of the finest teachers/coaches/leaders in all of college athletics in Head Coach Eric Bridgeland. Spartans fans can expect a high octane fast break, a disruptive pressure defense, and an open floor offense that allows players to be creative and aggressive-- however, what will stand out the most is how together the players are and how hard they play for each other."
"I'd like to thank Athletic Director Jim Hamad, Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Lora de Lacey, and President Sherrick for this incredible opportunity. The chance to work under leadership that is so passionate about the educational life lessons presented by competitive team athletics is an absolute dream. My wife, Rossi, and I couldn't be more excited to be joining the Aurora family and community." added Airy.
Airy becomes the 28th men's basketball head coach in the 107 year history of the program and only the fourth since the 1980 season.