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.