Seward County Community College President Dr. Duane Dunn and athletic director Galen McSpadden announced on Tuesday, April 24 that Bryan Zollinger has been named the new head coach of the Saints men’s basketball program. Zollinger was previously the head coach at College of Eastern Utah in Price, Utah, where he coached the Golden Eagles men’s basketball program the past 10 seasons (1997-2007). Zollinger is the seventh head coach in the 38 year history of the Saints basketball program. Although new to the position, Zollinger is no stranger to SCCC after playing for the Saints basketball program for two years (1984-86), and serving as a volunteer assistant coach at Seward County from 1994-1996.

Seward County Community College President Dr. Duane Dunn commenting on the hiring of Bryan Zollinger.

“We're excited to have Bryan assume leadership of our men's basketball program. His appreciation of a coach's responsibility for helping student athletes develop lifelong character, his fundamental and dynamic knowledge of the game of basketball, his proven success as a head coach, and his deeply held fondness of SCCC combine to make him the ideal new coach for the Saints. He has challenges during the next few weeks including recruiting his players and bringing on an assistant coach, but I am confident he will quickly move forward in addressing these challenges head on and with diligence. We all look forward to an exciting and competitive fall season.”

Seward County Community College Athletic Director Galen McSpadden commenting on the hiring of Zollinger.

“I am very excited that Bryan Zollinger is Seward County Community College’s new Head Men’s Basketball coach. Bryan’s experience as an assistant and head basketball coach at the high school, four-year college, and community college levels has exposed him to the qualities that are required to continue the success of the Saint’s mens basketball program within the Kansas Jayhawk Conference and Region VI. As a former player and assistant coach at Seward County, Bryan brings to the table a very strong sense of loyalty to the commitment of excellence for Seward County’s student-athletes both on the court and in the classroom. Bryan’s values, professionalism, work ethic, and total team approach makes him a great fit for the college and Liberal community.”

“Coach Zollinger will hit the ground running as his duties will begin immediately with developing a relationship with the returning players, with securing the assistant coaching position, and with the recruitment of the remainder of next years team.”

Zollinger is excited to return to the program that he began his collegiate playing and coaching career. “I think it is a dream for a lot of guys who play and go on to coach, to be able to return to their alma mater,” said Zollinger. “In this case I’m very excited to return to Seward County. I feel like it is a great opportunity to be in a place that has done so much for me and to have the opportunity to return that.”

Zollinger realizes that it is late in the recruiting year but doesn’t feel that bringing in talented student-athletes will be an issue, especially knowing of several players that he has been recruiting for awhile. “In junior college a lot of recruiting happens later in the process,” said Zollinger. “It is not unusual for a junior college to find one of their better players in June, July or August. There are plenty of guys out there. There are guys that I have been recruiting that are aware that this move may have been in the works. I don’t feel that recruiting will be an issue.”

While at College of Eastern Utah, he recorded a 164-147 (.527) overall record, posted six winning seasons and led CEU to nine post-season appearances at the Region 18 Tournament. In post-season competition, Zollinger recorded a 4-9 record with five trips to the Region 18 semifinals and four trips to the quarterfinals. Zollinger guided the Golden Eagles to a third-place finish and two fourth-place finishes in the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC), and posted an overall conference record of 73-113 (.392) in his head coaching tenure.

In 2006-07, Zollinger coached Tyler Kepkay, who was named a NJCAA First Team All-American, Region 18 Player of the Year and was the leading scorer in the NJCAA during the regular season averaging 27.9 points per game. In nine seasons at CEU, Zollinger mentored 18 All-Conference players and two Region 18 All-Tournament Team selections.

Zollinger began his coaching career at the high school level for a five year period, including a year as the assistant coach at Hays High School and four years as the head coach at Atwood H.S. Zollinger coached Atwood H.S. to two consecutive state tournaments and to their first Northwest Kansas League title in 22 years. He then returned to SCCC in 1994, to be a volunteer assistant coach under then head coach Dale Reed. Zollinger was a member of the Saints coaching staff for two seasons, including the 1994-95 season, when Seward County won the Jayhawk West Conference and Region VI Tournament title qualifying for the National Tournament for the second time ever in the program’s history.

Zollinger then moved on to the NCAA level as an assistant coach at Division II Eastern New Mexico University in 1996-97. Following one season in ENMU, Zollinger was hired as the assistant coach at College of Eastern Utah, before midway through his first season when he was elevated to the head coaching position of the Golden Eagles basketball program.

As a player, Zollinger was a member of the Saints’ first-ever Conference and Region VI championship season in 1984-85 when the Saints finished the season with a 23-12 overall record, also making their first-ever appearance at the NJCAA National Tournament. He completed his collegiate playing career at Grandview College, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree.

Seward County has compiled a 620-505 (.551) all-time men’s basketball record in 38 years of competition. The Saints have won four Jayhawk West Conference titles (1985, 1995, 1998, 2002), three NJCAA Region VI Tournament championships (1985, 1995, 1998), three trips to the NJCAA D-I National Tournament (1985, 1995, 1998), won over 20 games in 10 seasons and have had four player named NJCAA D-I All-American (Carlo Walton, 1995, Second Team; Kevin Houston, 1998, First Team; Jamal Brown, 2001, First Team; Devonne Giles, 2003, First Team.