Wattad named new Lander basketball coach

Johnson City Press • Updated Apr 7, 2020 at 9:00 AM

Omar Wattad, who helped lead Lincoln Memorial to five 30-win seasons and a berth in the 2016 national championship, has been hired as head coach of the Lander University men’s basketball program.

Wattad, the all-time leading scorer in Science Hill High School history, comes to the NCAA Division II school in Greenwood, South Carolina after six successful seasons on Josh Schertz's staff at Lincoln Memorial.

In Wattad's six seasons at LMU, the Railsplitters went 178-24 with five NCAA Tournament berths, including two trips to the Final Four and an appearance in the 2016 national title game. His teams won five South Atlantic Conference regular-season titles and three SAC Tournament championships, making three appearances in the NCAA Southeast Region championship game.

"We are thrilled to announce Omar Wattad as our next head men's basketball coach," said Lander athletic director Reese. "Omar's experiences as a coach and player made him an outstanding candidate and his commitment to the development of our student-athletes on and off the court was apparent. Omar has had remarkable success and his experience will benefit our program tremendously. We look forward to him having him join our Bearcat family."

Wattad brings over a decade of experience in the collegiate basketball ranks as a player and coach, as well as two seasons of experience as a professional player.

"I'm truly honored to be the next head coach at Lander University," Wattad said. "I'm forever grateful to Dr. Cosentino, athletics director Brian Reese, and the rest of the senior staff for believing in me. I'd also like to thank my mentor and good friend, Josh Schertz, for helping prepare me for this moment in my life as well as showing me what it means to be a head coach, boss and leader of a program. A special thanks to my incredible wife; nothing I achieve feels significant without the love and support of her and our sweet baby boy."

In 2019-20, Wattad helped lead LMU to a program-record 32 wins, a No. 2 national ranking, and the top seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional. The Railsplitters' 32-game winning streak was the longest in all of college basketball.

Wattad joined the LMU program after playing professionally with the Energy Invest Rustavi Basketball Club in the Georgian Super League and the Hapoel Holon Basketball Club in the Israeli Winner League.

After playing two seasons at Georgetown, Wattad transferred to Tennessee-Chattanooga, where he compiled 820 points, 230 boards and 119 assists in two seasons with the Mocs as a two-time All-Southern Conference performer. Upon graduation, he ranked fourth all-time at UTC for career three-point field goals, fifth in three-point field goal attempts and 30th in scoring in the program's D-I era.

Wattad scored a school-record 2,285 points at Science Hill, where he was a two-time all-state selection and a two-time region MVP. He was inducted into the Science Hill High School Hall of Fame in 2015.

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