Rob Pryor was named the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rob on board and we have very high hopes for his success here at the Academy,” commented White. “With a great background like his, Rob brings a wealth of knowledge to Kings Point and we are confident our men’s basketball student-athletes and the program as a whole will benefit from it on many different levels.”
No stranger to the way of life at a federal academy, Pryor is a 1997 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. He also coached as an assistant with the Falcons’ men’s basketball team for five seasons. This will help him understand the unique learning situations and regimented lifestyles that the Midshipmen at USMMA experience here at Kings Point.
“We are very excited to welcome Coach Rob Pryor and his family to the USMMA community,” added USMMA Superintendent RADM James Helis. “Coach Pryor understands the student-athlete experience at a federal service academy and will be a role model of respect, honor and service for us all.”
Pryor comes to the Mariners after spending the past six seasons at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., where he was just the second full-time head coach in Hornets’ program history. He oversaw the program’s move from the USA South Athletic Conference to the very competitive Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Under his tenure between the two conferences, Pryor coached four student-athletes that were honored as All-Conference players and had an impressive 25 student-athletes earn Academic All-Conference accolades.
“I am both honored and excited to be the next head men's basketball coach at the Merchant Marine Academy,” said Pryor. “My values are in line with the Academy's values, which makes this opportunity a great fit for myself and my family. I am eager to work with the young men in our program with the goal of being successful both on and off the court. I am also thankful to Admiral Helis and Ms. White for entrusting me with men's basketball program.”
Pryor has extensive NCAA Division I coaching experience. In addition to his five years with the Falcons, Pryor was an assistant to University of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery for one year at Siena – 2006-07.
The Saints had a 20-12 record and made an appearance in the championship game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament during Pryor's one season at the Loudonville, N.Y. school and McCaffery was named the MAAC Coach of the Year.
In 2005-06, under former Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik, Pryor helped Air Force return to the NCAA Tournament as an assistant varsity and head junior varsity coach. The Falcons had their best-ever season that year, finishing 24-7, and led the nation in scoring defense while finishing fourth in 3-point shooting percentage.
This coaching stint came at the end of a three-year period in which Pryor coached at the USAFA Preparatory School as both a volunteer and then the program's head coach. The Prep School was 74-27 in his three years there, including a 31-3 campaign in 2003-04.
His volunteer coaching experience occurred as he was teaching in the behavioral science department at the Academy. In his final season at the Prep School (04/05), he headed up that program.
After graduating from the Academy in 1997 with a degree in human behavior, Pryor earned a master's degree in education with an emphasis in counseling in 1998 from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Following his schooling, he began his first Air Force assignment as a contracting officer at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.
During his four-year stint at Langley, Pryor earned an MBA degree at the College of William & Mary before returning to the Academy in 2002.
Pryor and his wife, Ashleigh, are the proud parents of four sons: Salem, Seth, Sion and Amare.