Former Saluki guard Paul Lusk officially joined Matt Painter's staff on June 2, 2003.
"SIU is a special place," Lusk said. "I had a great experience during my playing years, and now I look forward to many more as a coach."
The 31-year-old assistant coach played a key role in leading the Salukis to three, consecutive NCAA Tournament berths from 1993-1995. Lusk scored 1,031 points during his three-year career at SIU (1992-95) and was Second Team All-MVC in 1994, averaging 15.2 ppg. As a senior in 1995, Lusk was named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete team and was also a member of the MVC All-Tournament team.
Lusk played professionally in Argentina from 1997-99. Shortly thereafter, he met Painter, and the two discussed the pros and cons of coaching.
"He had the itch to get into coaching," Painter recalled. "We sat down and talked a couple times. He wanted to get his feet wet and knew he would start in a job that wasn't going to pay much. He asked a lot of questions, and I knew he was sincere."
Lusk began his coaching career as an assistant at Missouri Southern, where he coached for three seasons from 1999-2002. He spent the 2002-03 season as head coach at Division III University of Dubuque (Iowa).
Lusk holds a Bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University and also earned a Master's degree from Southwest Missouri State. He and his wife, Melanie, have a baby daughter, Madison.
"Some guys want to be in coaching because they think it's easy," Painter said. "But Paul's one of those guys who said, 'my dad's a coach, and I know how hard it is, and I'll put in the long hours.'"