May 19, 2012
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Saluki men's basketball coach Barry Hinson announced on Saturday the addition of Parkland College head coach Nate Mast to his staff at Southern Illinois University. Mast will serve as the program's director of basketball operations.
During three seasons at Parkland, a junior college in Champaign, Ill., Mast posted a 53-44 record, including an NJCAA Division II national tournament appearance last season.
A 2002 graduate of the University of Illinois, Mast was a student assistant for one season for the Illini (2001-02) and later joined Bill Self's staff at Kansas in 2004 in an administrative capacity. While at Kansas, the Jayhawks won three Big 12 Conference championships. In 2007, Mast accepted his first coaching job at an assistant at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, where he helped the Lions to a record of 51-13 during two seasons.
"Nate's experience as a head coach and having worked and played at the highest level of college basketball will be a tremendous asset for us," said Hinson. "We are happy to welcome Nate, his wife Ashley, and his children, Nolan and Kendall, to our Saluki family."
A four year letterman at Illinois, Mast holds the UI scoring record for walk-ons. He played in 72 games from 1997-2001, including four starts and was named to the Big Ten Academic All-Conference team. He played three seasons for Lon Kruger and one season under Self.
"My background of being at Illinois and Kansas, and then being a junior college head coach, has allowed me to get my hand in all activities that go on in a program," Mast said. "I've run camps, done fund-raising, worked behind the scenes. I feel I can take any task Coach Hinson gives me and run with it and execute it in timely fashion."
Mast was a two-time recipient of the Kenny Battle Most Inspirational Player Award, was part of three Big Ten championship teams and helped the Illini reach the NCAA Elite 8 during his senior year.
A Champaign native, Mast was inducted into the Central High School Hall of Fame in 2008. He is married to the former Ashley Seaman of Champaign, and the couple has two children, Nolan (4) and Kendall (2).