Tigh Compton is entering his first year as the head coach at the University of Pikeville in Pikeville,Kentucky. Compton is taking over the reigns as the head coach of the Bears after former coach Kelly Wells took over the director of athletics position at UPike. Compton served as a student assistant on Wells’s staff for two years, before being elevated to an assistant for three year and associate head coach for six years.
In Compton’s time at UPike, the Bears have a 278-73 record over the last 11 years, ten 20-win seasons, three Mid-South Conference regular season titles, and nine NAIA National Tournaments. He also saw the Bears win their first National Title in 2011, and held a vital role in helping 22 players continue their basketball careers overseas.
Compton got his start in coaching during his first year of college while he was taking classes at a community college, and his high school coach allowed him to come back and coach the middle school and JV teams. After that experience, he knew that was the career for him. After transferring to UPike, he set up a meeting with Wells, and joined the program as a student assistant, and got the opportunity to coach the JV team. Since then, he has had every coaching role in the organization from student assistant, grad assistant, part-time assistant, and associate head coach to head coach.
“There is extra pressure for sure, as I take over the program”, said Compton. “Anytime you are hired to to follow a coach that has had the success that Coach Wells has had there is extra pressure. I’m sure there are very high expectations on our campus and in our community for our program to maintain the level of success we’ve experienced over the last decade or so, and my staff and I are working hard everyday to meet and exceed those expectations.”
In the bears program, the goal is to create and maintain a positive culture year in and year out. The program motto is “Sometimes You, Sometimes ME, Always US”, and they break every huddle with “Always US”. This means that as a team, you have to be ready for the moment, whenever that moment may come, but also need to be supportive and ready to cheer
on the success of our teammates and the success of our team as a whole.The team also has a PAW program where they spend time as a team going over life lessons and different life skills.
“ I used to always hear people say that they never imagined moving over one seat could change
things so much. Even though I have only been on the job for six months or so, I definitely have
a better understanding of what they meant”, said Compton. The biggest adjustment is just getting used to making the decision instead of giving a suggestion. I never realized just how many decisions, about everything, have to be made on a daily basis by the head coach. Making sure your are prioritizing your time and giving each decision the appropriate amount of time and consideration is a big takeaway for me. As the head coach, you are looked upon to lead your program, players and staff, on a daily basis, and making sure I do my part to put each of those guys in a position to be successful as often as possible is one of my biggest priorities.”
With the Covid-19 situation looming over the college basketball season right now, the Bears remain hopeful on playing their season. The virus only adds obstacles that Compton faces in his first season as head coach. The players wear masks in everything they do, and extra precautions are being used to ensure safety for the athletes. In terms of scheduling for the season, the Bears have focused on day trip games instead of overnight trips.
Compton tags his favorite moment with the Bears, as winning the 2011 National Title. He was a part-time assistant doing full-time hours. The Bears became the first unseeded team to win the national title by beating 5 seeded teams along the way.
The 2011 championship run for the Bears made the Kansas City Star’s top 32 National Tournament moments of all time. Compton will always cherish that moment, as the school pride and community support was amazing.
Be on the lookout for the Bears and another breakout season for the team!
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