Reed announces addition of Jenkins as assistant coach
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh’s head basketball coach Brett Reed announced the addition of Willie Jenkins as assistant coach on Tuesday. Jenkins was a notable former Tennessee Tech player, winning the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year in his 2004-05 senior season, while also leading his team to the regular season title. He replaces Noel Hightower on staff, who recently left for a position with the Indiana Pacers.
“We are delighted to welcome Willie to our basketball program,” said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. “Willie has an impressive background as a player and coach and I think he will be able to immediately connect with our student-athletes and help cultivate their development on the pitch. One thing that is very clear is that Willie has a passion and a belief in helping young people. It’s part of his outlook on life, his approach as a coach and as a member of his community. I believe Lehigh Basketball appeals to someone who will push our young men through his personality, his character as well as his credibility, knowledge and experience. “
As a senior in college, Jenkins was named with an Honorable Mention All-American, scoring 546 points for an average of 19.5 points (with 7.2 rebounds per game). He was inducted into the Tennessee Tech Hall of Fame in 2015.
After his college career, Jenkins played professional basketball for seven years in Europe before playing two seasons in the NBA D-League. His international experiences include stops in Israel, France, Germany, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In France, Jenkins developed a friendship with Lehigh’s old man, Jose Olivero. The two have remained close ever since and have developed a mutual respect due to a shared work ethic, motivation and focus.
Jenkins has also participated in NBA Combine practices with the Grizzlies, Hornets, Knicks and Rockets, as well as the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago. These athletic experiences and achievements solidified his love of the sport. They have also helped him gain a wealth of experience, deepen his knowledge and serve as the foundation for many coaching successes.
Jenkins has spent the past three years as a college basketball head coach at the Evangelical Christian School (ECS) in Memphis, Tennessee. In his first season, he began to lay the foundation for success. In his second and third years, he led his team to back-to-back state quarterfinal appearances. It also included training and mentoring Kam Jones, who is entering his first season at Marquette. In addition to success on the field, Jenkins is known to have built a very strong culture of accountability and holistic development of his student-athletes. He’s also been director of student life at the school and an assistant coach for Team Thad on Nike’s EYBL circuit – and with AC Georgia on the Under Armour’s Rise circuit.
Strongly involved in his community, Jenkins was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of Memphis Athletic Ministries. It’s a program designed for boys from middle school to high school to help understand authentic manhood and make the transition to adulthood.
Jenkins and the Mountain Hawks kick off their season on Wednesday, November 10 at Rutgers. Game time is 7:00 p.m. on Big Ten Network Plus.