Artwork for podcast The Basketball Podcast
Episode 122: Lennie Acuff, Art of Coaching
Episode 12229th July 2020 • The Basketball Podcast • Chris Oliver
00:00:00 01:01:51

Share Episode


Guest: Lennie Acuff, Lipscomb University Head Coach

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, Lipscomb University head coach Lennie Acuff joins the Basketball Podcast to the art of coaching, and how that art shapes his basketball and program's philosophy. With a 30-year storied coaching career, Acuff has established himself a proven winner and one of the best teachers in the game.

In Acuff's first season at Lipscomb University, he had seven players, more than 7,700 career points, and 3,000 career rebounds walk out the door prior to his arrival in 2019-20. Not only did he have to work eight first-year players into the roster, but there were only two guys on the team who had ever started a game.

But for a coach with more than 550 wins over his career, Acuff was ready for the challenge. He continued to tell anyone who would listen that 2019-20 would be a “jumping on point” for the program. Glancing back on his first D-I campaign, it sure looks like he was right. He pushed his team to its fullest potential and put the Bisons back in the ASUN Conference championship game for a third straight season.

Prior to arriving in Nashville, Acuff spent the previous 22 seasons at the helm of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he built the Chargers program into a national power with a 437-214 overall record. Under Acuff, UAH won eight regular season and three Gulf South Conference tournament championships and earned 11 trips to the NCAA-DII tournament, including two trips to the Elite Eight after winning the NCAA-DII South Regional in 2011 and 2012.

During that time UAH was ranked in the national polls for 44 consecutive weeks including a No. 2 ranking to end the 2011-12 season. The team’s achievements were also recognized on a national level as Acuff’s team was the first Division II program invited to play in the NIT Season Tip-Off in 2012, and the Chargers defeated North Texas in the opening round of the prestigious event.

Acuff has been named the NABC District Coach of the Year four times (2000, 2011, 2012, and 2013) and has been honored as the GSC Coach of the Year a conference-record eight times (1999, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016).

Prior to his tenure at UAH, Acuff was the head coach at Berry College in Rome, Georgia for four seasons, where he established it as one of the premier NAIA programs. At the age of 25, Acuff began his coaching career at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, and was the youngest head coach at a four-year college in the United States at the time.



1:00 - Perspective on the Art of Coaching

4:00 - Princeton Offense

7:00 - Mentor to a Better Coach

9:00 - Moving Jobs

13:00 - Coach from the Community to the Floor 

14:30 - Going into a New Program

17:30 - Continuing the Success of Program

19:00 - Redshirt Freshmen

21:30 - Forming Culture

24:00 - Language and Phrasing

27:00 - Conceptual Names and other Phrasing

31:00 - Difference between Role and Best Player

33:00 - Importance of Making Practice Fun

35:00 - Playing a Lot of Basketball Practices

38:30 - Competitiveness

41:00 - Basis for Recruitment of Players

43:30 - Playing Faster

47:40 - His Coaching Mentality

50:00 - Perspective of Coaching First Games

53:30 - Process of Coaching

56:30 - Out of Bounds to Inbound Versus Pressure

Lennie Acuff’s Bio



Basketball Immersion





BetOnline Website:


Best in the West Video Series

Best in the West Website:

See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at