ANNAPOLIS, Md.- Navy men's basketball head coach Ed DeChellis has announced that Ernie Nestor will join the Navy coaching staff, replacing Kurt Kanaskie, who took a similar coaching position at Virginia Tech last month. Nestor comes to Navy after spending the last season at Missouri and has been successful at every stop he has been during his 43-year career in the coaching ranks.
"Coach Nestor brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and success to our program. He has been a successful coach at all levels and will be an important figure in our program moving forward," said DeChellis. "He has coached and recruited outstanding student-athletes and is one of the most respected and well-liked coaches in the country."
"I am excited to rejoin coach DeChellis and be part of the basketball program here at the Naval Academy. I have the utmost respect for the institution and am looking forward to working with the current staff and players in building a strong, competitive team," said Nestor. "There is a great admiration for the Naval Academy and what it stands for. It is a distinct honor to be a small part of such a great institution."
Nestor comes to Navy after spending last season at Missouri as an assistant coach. The Tigers went 30-5 a year ago, won the Big 12 Championship and were ranked in the nation's top five for the majority of the season. He has been credited in the development of Mizzou big man Ricardo Ratliffe, who showed drastic improvement from 2010-11 to last season, when he led the country in field goal percentage (.693) and averaged 13.9 ppg and 7.5 rpg while earning all-Big 12 second-team honors. In addition, guard Kim English spoke highly of Coach Nestor and the work the duo accomplished during the year. English averaged 14.5 points per game and shot a blistering 45.9 percent from three-point range.
Nestor arrived at Mizzou after one season as the Director of Basketball Operations at Penn State University under DeChellis. The Nittany Lions were one of the country's most improved teams in 2010-11, going 19-15 and earning an at-large spot in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Nestor's coaching experience began in 1970-71 with a six-year stint as a high school head coach, but continued with stops at James Madison (1977-79), Wake Forrest (1980-85), California (1986-88), George Mason (1989-93), a return trip to Wake Forest (1994-01), South Carolina (2002-03), Elon (2004-2009), the New Jersey Nets (2010) and Penn State (2011).
Nestor is no stranger to player development and bench strategy at the major college level. He has spent time in the Pac-10, ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 conferences as an assistant during his four-decade collegiate coaching career and spent time on Dave Odom's staff at Wake Forest. He has also twice been a Division I head coach during his career, with stints at both Elon College and George Mason. During his career, he has helped recruit and develop Tim Duncan, Josh Howard and Darius Songaila into NBA stars.
Nestor's five seasons at George Mason and six years at Elon were as the program's head coach. He led George Mason to its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 1989 and topped the 20-win mark each of his first two seasons while reaching the CAA Tournament finals in 1991. He returned to Wake Forest in 1993 and helped the Demon Deacons to ACC Championships in 1995 and 1996 while the 1996 club advanced to the NCAA regional final, where it fell to the eventual NCAA National Champion, Kentucky. The 2000 Wake Forest team was the NIT Champion.
Nestor returned to the head coaching ranks at Elon College in 2003 and he directed the school's first winning season as a Division I program in 2006. The Phoenix won 15 games (15-14 overall), including a 74-69 win at Clemson. The team also claimed the Southern Conference's North Division crown and Nestor was named the SoCon Coach of the Year by both the league's coaches and media. His 2008 Elon team advanced to the Southern Conference Tournament final, where it was defeated by a Davidson squad led by Steph Curry that reached the NCAA Elite Eight.
During his collegiate coaching career, he has been a part of 11 teams that reached NCAA Tournament play and eight more that advanced to the NIT.
Nestor is a 1968 graduate of Alderson-Broaddus College (W. Va.) and he earned his graduate degree from West Virginia in 1970. He and his wife, Janet, have two children, Stephanie and Jennifer. They also have four grandchildren, Kodiak, Lucy, Clio and Jude.