Brenau names Kris Stewart head basketball coach

May 20, 2011
Rudi Kiefer

Brenau University announced today that Lees-McRae College assistant Kris Stewart on June 6 will become the head coach of the Golden Tigers women’s intercollegiate basketball team.

Stewart replaces Gary Bays, the first coach of the five-year-old Tigers team who resigned at the end of the 2010-11 season in which the team finished with a 13-16 won-loss record in National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics play.

Kris Stewart Basketball Coach“I am absolutely convinced after looking at numerous resumes and speaking with many candidates from around the country that Kris Stewart is the best person for the job,” said Brenau Athletics Director Mike Lochstampfor. “Kris has the personality, the passion, enthusiasm and the wide array of skills the job requires. He made a great connection with the team and our department staff. I am confident he will elevate the stature of our program in many ways.”

Although Stewart never held a head coaching position at the college level, he guided the Forbush High School Falcons in basketball-crazy central North Carolina to five straight playoff appearances and a 74-42 record during his time at the helm from 2002-07. He was the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference coach of the year in 2002 in his first year at the East Bend, N.C., school.

“I think this is a great opportunity for Kris and his family,” said Craig McPhail, director of athletics at Lees-McRae College. “His passion and desire for the game burns bright. The young women of Brenau will be excited to have the chance to play for him. He has a wonderful basketball IQ and solid recruiting connections. Most important, he is a great listener and willing to work hard for the greater good. He will put his heart and soul into building Brenau women’s basketball into a great program for many years to come.”

Stewart, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Lees-McRae, located in Banner Elk, N.C., and a Masters in Education from the University of Missouri in Columbia, has been the assistant basketball coach at the NCAA Division II Lees-McRae as well as director of instructional technology on the college’s education faculty. Previously he was director of residence life and associate dean of students at the college.

From 2000-02 he served as assistant coach at Austin College in Sherman, Tex. He also coached football and track while teaching English at the high school level at Forbush and at Freedom High School in Morganton, N.C. The Atlanta-area native graduated from Duluth High School in Gwinnett County. He and his wife, Holly, have two daughters. “I know that Brenau is definitely the right place for me and my family,” Stewart said. “The newness of the basketball program appeals to me. The team is very young, but very talented. The program has a solid foundation and needs the right person with the right personality to continue building. I believe that my approach to teaching the game will be beneficial to helping this team grow.” Stewart says he is undaunted by the intense competition he faces in the Southern States Athletic Conference, which usually fields several national title-seeking teams among its 16 members. “The conference has a number of talented teams and experienced, veteran coaches,” Stewart said. ” I’m looking forward to the competition.”


Originally published on 5/18/11 by David Morrison