Matt McMahon Season 2022-23
When Matt McMahon stepped to the podium for the first time as the 25th LSU men’s basketball head coach he listed the core values of his coaching career and his teams.
“Hard work, unselfishness, toughness, accountability and joy.”
Those words are now the cornerstone of LSU Basketball as it moves into a new era as a very successful head coach begins to reshape the program in his image.
“My favorite part of the job is seeing players not only become the best player they can be, but the best man they can be,” McMahon said. “It’s my responsibility to grow leaders here at LSU. That’s what we’re going to work to do.
“The results, the winning, all that will take care of itself because of the daily processes we’ll maintain.”
The image was on display during the past seven years at Murray State University where the Racers posted a record of 154-67, a .697 winning percentage. He led Murray State to 93 OVC regular-season wins, winning 75 percent of league games.
He has also coached multiple all-Americans and all-league players such as Ja Morant who was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2020.
The Racers won regular season league titles in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2018, 2019 and 2022 (the 2020 appearance was canceled by the pandemic).
Since the native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, became the third-youngest rookie among D1 coaches in 2015, McMahon has continued a steady move forward with a reputation for developing talent both as an assistant and head coach. He has become known nationally as an excellent recruiter and he is among the best in the nation in the area of player development and game planning.
“You have to play both ends of the floor, but style of play is incredibly important,” he said. “We’re going to play an up-tempo style, but we’re going to be efficient with it offensively. We’re going to be aggressive and physical and tough on the defensive end of the floor, and we’re going to play a style that enables elite players to come here and develop into NBA players.”
In his final season at Murray State in 2021-22, McMahon coached OVC Player of the Year KJ Williams and two other recipients of first-team honors (Tevin Brown, Justice Hill). In addition, McMahon was named the league’s Coach of the Year.
Williams, who ranked 12th nationally in 3-pointers made (94), became the third Murray State player to score 1,500 points and grab 800 rebounds. Brown had six games of 20-points or more topped by a 33-point effort against Chattanooga. Hill took over point guard duties in a Racer program known for good guards, leading Murray State in assists in 19 games with a plus-101 margin in assists to turnovers.
McMahon’s Racers, picked third in the OVC preseason poll, were just the sixth team in league history to go undefeated and the first to do it in an 18-game conference schedule. Murray State then won the two league tournament games to advance to the NCAA Tournament where, as a No. 7 seed, the Racers defeated San Francisco to advance to the round of 32.
The 2021-22 team was one of seven teams to win 30 or more games that season and led the nation in win percentage at 91.2 percent (31-3). The Racers were ranked No. 20 in the final AP poll and No. 22 in the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll.
McMahon was the first MSU coach to have three seasons of 25 or more wins and was one of just three Murray State coaches to have four 20-win seasons.
Although the 2019-20 season was called early because of the pandemic, it marked the third year in a three-year run when Coach McMahon led the Racers to three-straight OVC regular season championships (2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20) and two consecutive OVC Tournament titles (2017-18, 2018-19).
Coach McMahon’s commitment to defense showed in those years as the Racers ranked as the league leader twice in defensive field goal percentage and each of the three seasons the team led the league in defending the 3-point shot.
The 2018-19 team won 28 games and made its mark in the NCAA Tournament when the 12th-seeded Racers won their fourth all-time tourney game by defeating No. 5 seed Marquette. That season is when Morant stepped to the forefront at Murray State after the departure of stars Jonathan Stark and Terrell Miller.
In his season debut, Morant posted 26 points and 11 assists and went up from there, including 38 points against Alabama. He broke the school record for assists in a single game with 18, while scoring 26 points against UT Martin. Morant became the first NCAA Division I men’s player in 20 years to tally at least 40 points, 10 assists and 5 steals in a game.
He was named the OVC POY, leading Division I in assists and earning first-team all-America honors from the USBWA. In the NCAA Tournament win over Marquette, Morant posted a triple double of 17 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists as he became the eighth player to record a triple double in the tournament.
He was drafted second overall in the 2019 NBA draft by the Memphis Grizzlies.
In 2017-18, McMahon’s team won 26 games and the OVC regular season and tournament championship, sending the Racers to what was at that time the school’s 16th NCAA Tournament.
Prior to being named head coach, he was a key part of Coach Steve Prohm’s staff as assistant at Murray State as the Racers won a pair of Ohio Valley Conference championships, a CollegeInsider.com Tournament championship and an appearance in the NIT. He was part of a staff that won 104 games from 2011-15.
In 2014-15, MSU became the first team in school history to go undefeated in the OVC at 16-0 and set a league record with a 25-game win streak that was second best in the nation. Three seasons earlier, McMahon was named to the list of best assistant coaches by FoxSports.com and CollegeInsider.com.
McMahon coached Lute Olson Player of the Year and AP Honorable Mention All-American Cameron Payne who ranked 13th in the nation in scoring with an average of 20.2 points per game and 6.0 assists. Payne was the 14th pick of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In his first season as an assistant at Murray State, the team was 31-2 and earned a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Racers won a game in the NCAAs and were the final undefeated team in the nation that year at 23-0.
PRIOR TO MURRAY STATE
Coach McMahon has had success in college basketball since his days as a player at Appalachian State. Known as an excellent shooter and tough competitor, he played on three Southern Conference regular season title teams in 1998, 1999 and 2000. The Mountaineers won the SoCon Tournament in 2000 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
He played in 90 career games under coach Buzz Peterson and made 124 three-pointers, graduating in 2000 with a bachelor’s in marketing.
His coaching career began immediately at Appalachian State as a student assistant under Houston Fancher in 2000-01. He would rejoin Peterson’s staff as a student coach at Tennessee before returning to ASU in 2002, where he stayed until the end of the 2009-10 season. A year at UNC Wilmington (2010-11) as assistant coach set the stage for his journey to Murray State, starting first as an assistant in the 2011-12 season and then as head coach prior to the 2015-16 season.
Like his time at Murray State, McMahon coached some outstanding talent in the early stages of his coaching career, including Southern Conference POY Donald Sims as well as all-league picks Jeremy Clayton and D.J. Thompson.
At UNCW, he recruited Adam Smith, a Parade All-America Second-Team selection.
Coach McMahon and his wife Mary, a former standout for the Furman women’s basketball team, have three children – Maris, Mason and Mabry.
The McMahon File
Season at LSU: First (in 2022-23)
Birthdate: April 26, 1978
Children: Maris, Mason, Mabry
Hometown: Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Education: Appalachian State, 2000
College Coaching Experience
2000-01 – Student Assistant, Appalachian State
2001-02 – Student Assistant, Tennessee
2002-10 – Assistant Coach, Appalachian State
2010-11 – Assistant Coach, UNC Wilmington
2011-15 – Assistant Coach, Murray State
2015-22 – Head Coach, Murray State
March 22, 2022 – Head Coach, LSU
McMahon’s Head Coaching Record
|2015-16||Murray State||17–14||10–6||T-1st (West)|
|2016-17||Murray State||16–17||8–8||3rd (West)|
|2017-18||Murray State||26–6||16–2||1st||NCAA First Round|
|2018-19||Murray State||28–5||16–2||T-1st||NCAA Second Round|
|2019-20||Murray State||23–9||15–3||T-1st||Postseason canceled|
|2021-22||Murray State||31–3||18–0||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|Totals||154–67 (.697)||93–31 (.750)|