Andy Sharpe was introduced as the new men’s basketball coach at Southern Arkansas in April. He has served the past five years as head coach at NAIA-affiliated Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tenn.
Sharpe brings eight years of coaching experience to the Muleriders, seven as a head coach in which he has compiled a career mark of 168-70 for a .706 win percentage.
During his tenure at Martin Methodist, Sharpe led the RedHawks to prominence on the national stage, with three trips to the NAIA national tournament, including each of the past two seasons. His teams were 127-41 (.756) over the five-year period, claiming two TranSouth Conference regular season and tournament championships. Sharpe was named conference coach of the year for three seasons and received the Don Meyer Award in 2010-11 as the NAIA national coach of the year.
He coached five All-Americans while at Martin Methodist, including 5-10 guard James Justice, a first team honoree the past two years, who as a “Dark Horse Dunker” won this year’s Denny’s Slam Dunk championship at the State Farm College Slam Dunk and Three-Point championships in New Orleans in conjunction with the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament.
Sharpe’s team advanced to the “Sweet Sixteen” of the national tournament this past season, finishing 28-7 and ranked fifth in the final NAIA poll. They were both TranSouth regular season and tournament champions for the second straight year and spent 21 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10 of the national poll. Sharpe was named the TranSouth coach of the year for the second straight season, and third time overall.
His 2010-11 squad set school records with a 34-3 finish, highlighted by advancing to the “Final Four” of the national tournament, and finished ranked sixth in the country. Their conference season championship was the first-ever for the school and they opened the season with a school-best 16-0 start.
Sharpe’s 2009-10 team finished 18-13 on the year, while the 2008-09 squad was 22-10 and ranked as high as 16th.
In Sharpe’s first year at Martin Methodist in 2007-08, he guided the team to a 25-8 mark, an appearance in the national tournament, and to a final season ranking of 11th.
Prior to arriving at Martin Methodist, Sharpe began his collegiate coaching career in 2004-05 as an assistant at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Ga., before taking over the program the following season and serving two years as head coach, compiling a 41-29 (.586) record.
He inherited a 4-28 program his first season and improved them to 14-18 in 2005-06, and then set the school record for wins with a 27-11 mark the next year, advancing the team to its first Southern States Athletic Conference tournament championship game, and being named the SSAC coach of the year.
Sharpe will have some familiarity with his future opponents in the Great American Conference, as his cousin, Allen Sharpe, is the second-year men’s coach at Arkansas-Monticello.
Sharpe, 32, received his B.S. in business administration in 2002 from Reinhardt (Ga.) University and a M.Ed. in physical education from North Georgia College & State University in 2006. He has been married seven years to the former Mandy Bonifacious of Tunnel Hill, Ga., and they have a two-year old son, Asher, and a one-year old daughter, Ava.