Get to know new Davidson basketball coach Matt McKillop

Get to know new Davidson basketball coach Matt McKillop


Davidson College announced Friday, June 17, 2022, that Matt McKillop (left) would replace his father, Bob McKillop, as the school’s head basketball coach. Bob McKillop, 71, is retiring after 33 years.


Bob McKillop’s retirement

Davidson head basketball coach Bob McKillop retires after 33 seasons

Matt McKillop advanced from being a ball boy at Davidson College to becoming a “pain in the butt” to his father.

Now McKillop, 39, is taking the next step.

After six years as associate head coach to his dad, Bob, Matt is taking over the Davidson men’s basketball coaching job.

Matt McKillop was named head coach Friday, shortly after his father announced his retirement following 33 years in the position.

“This is an emotional day for our family,” Matt McKillop said.

It also is a day many analysts expected would happen eventually.

Matt McKillop has spent 14 years on the Davidson staff and was named associate head coach in 2016. He helped oversee recruiting, scheduling, editing tapes for scouting, community involvement and analytics.

Athletics director Chris Clunie indicated Friday that Davidson had advance notice of Bob McKillop’s retirement and chose a replacement they believe will continue the program’s success.

He said Matt McKillop was picked “not because he’s Bob’s son, but because he’s the best man for the job.”

Bob McKillop said his son undoubtedly will make some changes in the program’s operation.

“He’s not an imitation of me,” McKillop said.

So here are four things to know about the new men’s head basketball coach at Davidson:

Davidson’s Matt McKillop, left, pulls his jersey, as coach and father Bob McKillop looks down, while walking off the court after Davidson lost to Ohio State, 70-62, in the first round NCAA tournament game at University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, Friday, March 17, 2006. (David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/KRT) KRT

He’s a local guy

Bob McKillop was born in Queens, NY, and sounds like it. Matt McKillop was born in Long Island while his dad was coaching Long Island Lutheran High, but Matt grew up in the Carolinas.

He was a ball boy in his dad’s program during the 1990s and later attended Charlotte Catholic High and then Davidson. He spent the 2007-08 basketball season in Atlanta as an assistant coach at Emory, but he came back home to Davidson a year later as an assistant coach.

His wife is former Davidson College tennis standout Kelsey Linville. They and their children, Hazel and Rosie, live in Davidson.

Matt McKillop could play

Matt McKillop was a standout shooting guard at Charlotte Catholic and signed to play under his father at Davidson.

He started in 98 of his 117 games at Davidson and ranks seventh among all Wildcat players in 3-point field goals made (227) and seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (39.3). He and six other seniors who graduated from Davidson in 2006 were a unit that won 77 games, compiled a 16-0 record in the Southern Conference in 2004-05 and made two straight postseason appearances.

He signed to play professionally in the Czech Republic but suffered a career-ending knee injury.


Matt McKillop is a top-notch recruiter

In recent seasons, Matt McKillop has become an excellent recruiter. He worked with his father in signing a number of international players, and he also helped develop Ohio as a fertile recruiting ground for the Wildcats.

His wife is from the Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington, and McKillop worked the Buckeye State for such players as Brian Sullivan (Class of 2016), Jack Gibbs (’17) and Peyton Aldridge (’18).

Two of Davidson’s top returning players for next season are 6-foot-5 sophomore wing Desmond Watson – from Columbus – and 6-3 junior guard Grant Huffman – from the Cleveland area.

He’s into analytics

Bob McKillop noted Friday that his son Matt pays more attention to analytics than he did.

“One of the interesting dynamics that occurred in the last five years was Matt’s performance on the bench,” his father said. “He was a pain in the butt. He was constantly offering opinions, challenging decisions…”

He said Matt McKillop takes a more science-based approach to coach the game, adding, “I coach by gut.”

Whether that makes a difference in the way Davidson plays basketball – with its back-door baskets, secondary fast break, and ball screens – is up in the air. But Bob McKillop said the Wildcats undoubtedly will do a few things differently.

“He’s his own man,” the elder McKillop said. “And I think that’s the way he will succeed.”

Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle

This story was originally published June 18, 2022 10:15 AM.


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