Matt Cole became just the fourth head women's basketball coach in Tigers program history dating back to 1956 when he was introduced in April 2014.
The Tigers advanced to the Great American Conference Championship Tournament for the fourth time under Cole’s leadership, finishing as the No. 3 seed. The team saw two players earn All-GAC Honorable Mention honors (Devon Branch/Lakin Preisner).
Cole also helped produce the Tigers first NCAA Division II statistical champion, as Preisner earned the title in Free-Throw Percentage (95.6%). His team was also honored with the 2017-18 GAC Sportsmanship Award.
The 2016-17 season was filled with injuries for the Tigers, but the team rallied at the end of the season to advance to the semifinals of the GAC Championship Tournament. The season saw Devon Branch named to the All-GAC Second Team and Jalyn Jackson and Whitney Stotler earn All-GAC Honorable Mention honors. Jackson also had a strong performance in the tournament, earning All-GAC Tournament honors for the second-straight season.
The 2015-16 season ended on a high note, as the Tigers became the first women’s team in the GAC tournament to pull off an upset win as the No. 7 seed, defeating No. 2 Harding (62-48). The efforts of the team in the tournament resulted in both Whitney Stotler and Jalyn Jackson earning GAC All-Tournament honors.
In his first season at the helm, ECU finished 15-12 overall and advanced to the GAC Quarterfinals. The Tigers saw three players earn All-GAC honors, with Dilan Webster being named to the All-GAC Second Team and Taylor Fischer and Erin Walling claiming honorable mention honors.
Defense was the name of the game in 2014-15 for the Tigers. ECU led the GAC in scoring defense (59.6 ppg) and turnover margin (+3.67). The Tigers were also tops in the league in assist/turnover ratio at 1.1 for the year.
Cole had spent the last 11 years as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Northeastern State where he helped the RiverHawks to seven NCAA Tournaments, including two Sweet 16 appearances.
Cole’s on court responsibilities were primarily with forwards, but he also served as the primary scout and recruiter for Northeastern State. During his tenure he has produced two All-Americans, one Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year, two Lone Star Conference Players of the Year and numerous all-conference players.
Cole was also responsible for mentoring Jasmine Webb, a NSU forward who was named to the 2011 WBCA/State Farm First Team All-American team.
Prior to joining the RiverHawks staff, Cole was an assistant coach for Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kan., from 2000-03. While at Cowley College the team posted an 81-14 record.
Cole received his master’s degree in collegiate services and college teaching from Northeastern State, and he also earned his bachelor’s degree in health and human performance at NSU.
Cole is married to Lolly and the couple has two children, Cael (11) and Waverly (8).