Head Coach Jimmy Elgas
Jimmy Elgas is in his fourth season as Henderson State’s men’s basketball coach.
Elgas took over as Henderson State’s men’s head basketball coach in April of 2015, becoming the 28th head coach in its 105-year history of the basketball program.
In his first season at Henderson (2015-16) the Reddies finished with a 9-19 record overall and a 7-15 mark in Great American Conference play.
In 2016-17, his second year at the helm of the Reddies basketball, Elgas helped the program take a big step forward, improving to 16-13 overall and 11-11 in Great American Conference play, good for fifth place in the final GAC standings. The 11 conference victories tied the most for Henderson since joining the GAC in 2011-12 and helped the Reddies clinch a berth in the GAC Tournament in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, for the first time since 2013-14.
Elgas has an impressive resume which includes stops at numerous successful NCAA Division I programs. From 2007-2015, Elgas served as the top assistant coach at the University of Evansville under Head Coach Marty Simmons. While at Evansville, the Aces have made five post-season appearances including four of the last five seasons. The Aces have recorded 20-plus winning seasons two of the last three years including a 23-12 record this season while advancing to the championship game of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament to be played Thursday. The 23 wins are the most since 1998-99 when Evansville finished with a 23-10 record. The Evansville men’s basketball program has graduated an impressive 78 consecutive student-athletes including 20 during Elgas’ tenure.
Prior to his stint at Evansville, Elgas spent a year at the University of Utah, and the previous six years at Kansas State. As an assistant coach at Kansas State, Elgas recruited eight all-Big 12 Conference selections. With one of the youngest teams in the Big 12 Conference in 2004-05, Elgas helped head coach Jim Wooldridge guide the Wildcats to their first winning season in six years with a 17-12 overall record. In 2006, Elgas stepped in as Kansas State’s interim head coach for two games (Feb. 8 and 15), posting a 1-1 record with a win over Iowa State.
Elgas played a major role in recruiting for Kansas State. The program garnered three top-25 recruiting classes during his tenure, including the nation’s best class in 2002-03, according to Hoop Scoop magazine. The ‘02-03 class included one consensus Top 100 player in Cartier Martin, as well as junior college transfer Jeremiah Massey who was named the 2003-04 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
As director of basketball operations, Elgas oversaw coordination of all operations within the Wildcat basketball program, including assisting in the organization of recruiting activities, running the Jim Wooldridge Basketball Camp, organizing K-State coaching clinics, and overseeing the Wildcat Faculty/Staff Club. In addition, Elgas coordinated all team travel and led special projects for the basketball office.
Before his run with the Wildcats, Elgas was an assistant coach at Texas State (formerly Southwest Texas State) from 1995-2000. He was instrumental in the recruiting process of the Bobcat basketball program. As an assistant for Mike Miller’s squad, he served as the recruiting coordinator, monitoring academic progress and coordinating scheduling. He also assisted with on-the-floor coaching and the coordination of practice and workout schedules. During his tenure, the Bobcats were 75-62, won two Southland Conference championships, and advanced to the 1997 NCAA Tournament.
In 1998-99, Elgas helped guide the Bobcats to their first outright Southland Conference regular season title with a 19-9 overall record and a 13-5 league mark. It was the second championship in three years for the ‘Cats, who also captured the 1996-97 crown. The Bobcats were led by all-conference performer Jeff Foster, who became an NBA first round draft choice in 1999 and went 21st to the Indiana Pacers. In five years at Texas State, Elgas coached 10 all-Southland Conference selections.
Prior to his days at Texas State, Elgas served a coaching stint at Lincoln (Ill.) College. During his two seasons as assistant coach, Elgas helped the Lynx to an overall record of 46-16. During the 1993-94 season, Lincoln was the second-best defensive team in the nation in terms of field-goal percentage. The Lynx went on to place in the nation’s top 20 the following season, limiting opponents to 70.4 points on average.
Elgas graduated from Illinois State in 1993. He worked with the Redbirds basketball team as a student assistant coach from 1991-93 under the direction of head coach Bob Bender. The Redbirds claimed the Missouri Valley Conference championship in each of Elgas’ two seasons on the Redbirds’ bench.
A native of Crystal Lake, Ill., Elgas played high school basketball at Crystal Lake Central High. He was a two-year starter and served as team captain his senior season.
Elgas, 44, is married to the former Tamara Grier who played basketball at Texas Lutheran. They have three children – Kyla, James and Kambry.
HERE’S WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT COACH ELGAS.
“Any success that we’ve had in the last eight years here at Evansville has been a direct reflection of Jimmy’s dedication and hard work with our basketball program. He’s one of hardest working and most intelligent basketball coaches that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. Jimmy will be an outstanding head coach and he will do a tremendous job at Henderson State. I know everyone at the University and within the Arkadelphia community will truly enjoy working with Jimmy and his wonderful family.”
-- Marty Simmons, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, University of Evansville
“I’ve known Jimmy for 25 years; he is one of the hardest working coaches in the business. He has prepared himself for the opportunity to be a very successful head coach. Henderson State is in great hands with Jimmy as the Head Basketball Coach!”
-- Ray Giacoletti, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Drake University
“Jimmy Elgas is an outstanding hire for Henderson State University. His knowledge of the game of basketball, persistence on the recruiting trail and passion to help young people make him the ideal person to lead this program.”
-- Brad Brownell, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Clemson University
“Jimmy Elgas is one of the bright young coaches in NCAA basketball. He has shown the ability to help bring positive change and a winning culture to programs he has represented throughout his career. Jimmy is an outstanding recruiter and teacher of the game who will bring the work ethic necessary to build a championship program at Henderson State. I am excited for the players and fans of Reddies Basketball!”
-- Jim Wooldridge, Former Head Men’s Basketball Coach, UC-Riverside, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Texas State University, and the University of Central Missouri
"I have known Jimmy for over 20 years. He is one of the brightest basketball minds I have been around. No one will ever out work him."
-- Billy King, General Manager, Brooklyn Nets
“Jimmy Elgas will engage your fans, mentor and develop your student-athletes and build a program that the Administration and Alumni will be proud of. Jimmy has experience building successful Basketball programs. His enthusiasm, work ethic and communication skills will be the foundation for a successful future. He is a tireless recruiter and an excellent teacher of the game. I look forward to watching his teams at Henderson State compete for Championships.”
-- Mike Miller, Assistant Coach, Austin Spurs, NBA Development League. Former head coach, Texas State, Eastern Illinois.