ORONO, Maine — University of Maine men’s basketball coach Bob Walsh has brought in a longtime coaching veteran and a former professional player to fill positions on his staff.
Bob Simon and Moses Sonko have hooked on with the Black Bears for the 2017-2018 season. Simon is an assistant coach, while Sonko will be the director of basketball operations and recruiting coordinator.
Simon, the former associate head coach at the University of Alabama, has 25 years of collegiate coaching experience. He has worked at Providence, Fairfield, Toledo and Wayne State. In two seasons under Avery Johnson at Alabama, Simon helped recruit ESPN’s No. 5-ranked incoming class in 2017.
“It’s going to help our program a great deal to add someone with Bob Simon’s talent, professionalism and experience,” said Walsh in a release. “He’s played a significant role in winning programs at all levels of college basketball, and his commitment and work ethic have always stood out in coaching circles. He’ll make everyone in our program better, and we are very excited to have him on board.”
Prior to Alabama, Simon spent nine seasons as the top assistant under head coach Ed Cooley at both Providence and Fairfield. He was responsible for recruiting two 2016 NBA draft picks to Providence in Kris Dunn (Minnesota Timberwolves, 1st round, No. 5 overall) and Ben Bentil (Boston Celtics, 2nd round, No. 51 Overall).
Cooley and Simon worked together for five seasons at Fairfield from 2006-2011 and the Stags won 92 games in five seasons.
Sonko comes to Orono after playing a decade of professional basketball overseas in France, Angola and Israel. He most recently played for Aix Maurienne Savie Basket, based in Aix-les-Bains, Savoie, France, in the LNB Pro B League.
He averaged 12.5 points per game and shot over 40 percent from 3-point range last season. In the 2013-2014 season he helped Recreativo de Libolo, win the Angolan National Basketball Championship, and was named to the Afrobasket.com All-Angolan First Team.
Sonko attended Coastal Carolina University from 2003-2007, where he became one of four players in school-history to score 1,000 points and record 500 rebounds. He averaged 15.5 points and 6.9 rebounds as a senior to earn All-Big South second-team recognition.
“Moses is a very talented, intelligent and driven individual,” said Walsh. “He just finished a 10-year professional playing career, and his experience and perspective will be a great benefit to our players and our staff.”
Moses is no stranger to the Pine Tree State, having spent a postgraduate year at Bridgton Academy (2002-2003) after a stellar high school career in Rhode Island.
Sonko earned a business management degree from Coastal Carolina in 2007.
The Black Bears tip off their season with an exhibition contest on Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. against Husson University at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.