WATERVILLE — Damien Strahorn, who played for and was an assistant for legendary head coach Dick Whitmore, will take over as the new head coach of the Colby College men’s basketball team, the school announced in a press release Tuesday.
Strahorn, the head coach at Plymouth State University this past season and an assistant coach for four years at Columbia University, will start at Colby on June 1. He will be the first head coach, other than Whitmore, to lead the Mules since 1970. Strahorn is the seventh head coach in Colby men’s basketball history dating back to the 1937-38 season.
“I’m truly excited that Damien has accepted our offer to be the next head coach of men’s basketball at Colby,” said Harold Alfond Director of Athletics Marcella Zalot. “No one can replace Dick Whitmore because, frankly, he is irreplaceable. But Damien has the right mix of terrific basketball knowledge and high level recruiting experience that we need, combined with his knowledge of the traditions and history of the men’s basketball program at Colby.”
Whitmore started at Colby in 1970 and amassed a career record of 637-341 while retiring ranked seventh all-time in NCAA Division III men’s basketball history in career wins. He is in the top 50 among coaches in career wins in all divisions.
“I think there are two things with coach Whitmore. First you look at the 600-plus wins, the championships, and the fact that he’s one of the winningest coaches of all time,” said Strahorn, a 2002 graduate of Colby with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in administrative science. “The second part is the amazing impact that he has had on so many of his players’ lives and the resulting connection he has with so many former players. I’m very honored and humbled to be taking over (for) him.”
Despite taking over a Plymouth State team with just one returning starter and a squad predicted to finish last in the Little East Conference, Strahorn helped the Panthers to a sixth-place finish and an 11-14 record. He will have a similar situation at Colby during the 2011-12 season, with the Mules losing star players Adam Choice, Mike Russell, and Christian Van Loenen over the past two years.
Strahorn, a native of Menlo Park, Calif., was a two-year player at Colby after transferring from Foothill College. During his senior year at Colby, Strahorn earned All-New England Small College Athletic Conference first-team honors and was named to the All-New England second team. He averaged 22.9 points per game in his senior year..