BATON ROUGE — Matt McMahon, a Naismith National Coach of the Year Semifinalist who led Murray State to the first 18-0 season in Ohio Valley Conference history in 2021-22, has been named the 25th head coach of LSU Men’s Basketball, Director of Athletics Scott Woodward announced Monday.
McMahon, 43, arrives in Baton Rouge with a 154-67 record in seven seasons as the Racers’ head coach – including a 31-3 (.900) mark this season. The Oak Ridge, Tenn., native also led his program to four OVC regular season titles, three conference tournament championships, three NCAA Tournament appearances, two NCAA Tournament wins, and a 121-36 (.711) record since 2017-18.
“It was essential for us to hire a coach with a winning standard of performance, as well as the consistency and character to elevate our men’s basketball program to new heights,” Woodward said. “Matt is exactly what we were looking for. His vision for our program and his values as a leader align perfectly with ours as an institution, and he has a proven track record of identifying talent, developing student-athletes, and building championship basketball programs. We are excited to welcome, Matt, Mary, and their three children to Baton Rouge, and we are ready to work together to write the next championship chapter for LSU Basketball.”
“I want to thank President Tate, Scott Woodward, and Stephanie Rempe for the incredible opportunity to be the next head basketball coach at LSU,” McMahon said. “My family and I are extremely excited to join the Baton Rouge community and lead the LSU Basketball program forward. I look forward to building relationships with our current players and recruiting elite student-athletes to LSU, and I’m excited to join the best athletic department – and the most iconic brand – in all of college sports. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and I cannot wait to get to work.”
The 2021-22 OVC Coach of the Year, McMahon was the only mid-major coach on this season’s list of 10 Naismith semifinalists. This year, he led Murray State to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament and its first top-25 ranking since 2015, becoming the first coach in school history with three seasons of 25-plus wins and just the third coach in school history to lead the Racers to a 30-win season. Murray State’s win over San Francisco in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament extended its winning streak to 21 games, the longest in the nation this season. In seven seasons in Murray, McMahon averaged 22 wins a season and 13 conference wins per campaign, finishing 93-31 (.750) overall in OVC play.
McMahon has developed a reputation as an elite recruiter, particularly in the Southeast, where he has recruited and developed three OVC Players of the Year in the past five seasons. In 2017-18, Tennessee native Jonathan Stark led the OVC with 21.8 points per game, finishing his career with 1,408 points in two seasons under McMahon. In 2019, McMahon’s Racers, led by All-American and No. 2 overall NBA Draft pick Ja Morant, won 28 games and knocked off Marquette in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. That season, Morant – a South Carolina native – averaged 24.5 points and 10.0 assists per game, making him the first player to average 20 points and 10 assists in a season since the NCAA began to officially recognize assists in 1983-84. This season, Mississippi native KJ Williams led the OVC in scoring with 18.2 points per game while being named the league’s top player. Since 2017-18, the Racers have landed 12 spots on the All-OVC first team.
Prior to accepting the head coaching position at Murray State, McMahon spent four seasons as an assistant under Steve Prohm, helping the Racers to four 20-win seasons, including a 2012 NCAA Tournament appearance and the 2014 CollegeInsider.com Championship. Murray State won 104 games in McMahon’s four seasons as assistant coach, including a perfect 16-0 record in the OVC in 2014-15.
McMahon arrived in Murray after one season under Buzz Peterson as an assistant coach for UNC-Wilmington (2010-11). Before that, he spent eight seasons at his alma mater, Appalachian State, where he was an assistant coach from 2002-10. He also spent one season as a graduate assistant at both Appalachian State (2000-01) and Tennessee (2001-02).
A four-year letterman for Peterson at Appalachian State in 2000, McMahon finished his playing career with a Southern Conference championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance in his senior season. In 117 games from 1996-2000, he hit 135 three-pointers, posting a career-high 45.5 percent mark from 3 in 1998-99.