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It didn't take Jeff Lebo long to further enhance his reputation as a program changer during his first three seasons as the head coach at East Carolina.
Lebo has directed the Pirates to 73 wins over the last four years, the most successful stretch of victories during that time span in the program's Division I history. No coach in the 82-year history of ECU basketball has won more games in his first three seasons.
Under his supervision, the Pirates have recorded their first-ever 20-win season as an NCAA Division I member, received three postseason tournament invitations and claim their first postseason championship.
Lebo guided the Pirates to their first winning season in 14 years and first post-season appearance in 17 years in his initial year on the ECU bench. He also coached them to their first .500 season as member of Conference USA, finishing tied for seventh with an 8-8 record.
During the 13 years prior to his arrival, ECU hadn't won more than 14 games in any given season and posted a .500 record just once. Lebo coached the Pirates to 18 wins in 2011-12, second-most in the program's Division I history, which dates back to 1965. Those 18 victories also marked the second-most by a first-year coach at ECU.
The Pirates began the 2010-11 campaign, their 10th as a member of C-USA, still in search of their first conference championship tournament victory and Lebo delivered a pair of triumphs as ECU defeated UCF in the opening round and then knocked out No. 1 seed UAB in the quarterfinals to earn the program's first trip to semifinals. He also orchestrated the program's first-ever win over Memphis on March 2.
Lebo's first Pirate squad completed the 2010-11 season with an overall record of 18-16; an improvement of eight wins over the previous season. The 18 victories included three conference road wins, matching a school record, and 11 home triumphs, one shy of a program standard. The Pirates also scored the second-most points in a season in school history and made the second-most 3-point field goals and free throws.
Although his second ECU team finished one game under .500, the Pirates continue to make strides. They reached the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament for a second straight season, set the single-season record for steals and had two players named All-Conference USA for the first time.
His third season on the bench saw the Pirates accomplish things never done prior to his arrival. The 2012-13 season culminated with with 23 wins and a CIT championship. ECU also posted its first Conference USA winning record and top-5 finish, tying for fourth-place with a 9-7 ledger.
Lebo helped two players earn all-conference honors for the second consecutive season, instructing the school's first C-USA scoring champion and first-team all-league player, Maurice Kemp. ECU completed the 2012-13 campaign ranked second in the nation in assists per game (17.2) and 18th in scoring (76.5). It was the fourth time in his career that his team ranked among the NCAA top-20 in scoring.
Schools records for points, 3-point field goals, assists, blocks and steals were also established.
Lebo's fourth season with the Pirates concluded with the program's third postseason appearance under his leadership with a 17-17 overall record, giving the Pirates their second consecutive non-losing season for the first time since recording four straight winning seasons from 1993-97.
The Pirates reset team season records for 3-point field goals made for the second straight year, while they also posted the second-most points and assists in program history.
Lebo spent the first 12 years of his head coaching career restoring programs at Tennessee Tech, Tennessee-Chattanooga and Auburn before he was named ECU's 23rd head coach on March 22, 2010.
He has averaged over 17 wins per season during his head coaching career, compiling an all-time record of 284-217 (.567).
Prior to taking the reigns at East Carolina, he was asked to rebuild three programs during that span and responded by leading each program to at least one 20-win season before departing. He guided two teams into National Invitation Tournament (NIT) play, winning five of seven contests - falling on both occasions to teams, which advanced to the NIT Championship Game.
In six years as a collegiate head coach prior to his appointment at Auburn, Lebo turned around programs at Tennessee-Chattanooga and Tennessee Tech en route to a 115-63 combined record at those institutions, an average of over 19 wins per sea-son. A pair of Ohio Valley Conference titles and a trip to the NIT quarterfinals dotted Lebo's ledger at Tennessee Tech.
He initiated his head coaching career at Tennessee Tech in 1998-99, when he took over a team with four consecutive losing seasons that was capped by a 9-21 campaign the year before his arrival. Two years later, the Golden Eagles posted their first 20-win season since 1946-47. He immediately followed with a school-record 27 victories a year later in 2001-02 that earned the school its first post-season appearance since 1963. Tennessee Tech took advantage of its NIT opportunity, winning three-straight contests until dropping a 79-73 decision against eventual tourney champion Memphis on the road.
Lebo was honored with three consecutive OVC Coach-of-the-Year awards for his unprecedented success at Tennessee Tech. In addition, he was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 7 Coach-of-the-Year and the Ten-nessee Coach-of-the-Year at the conclusion of the 2001-02 season.
He then accepted the head coaching position at Tennessee-Chattanooga, and inherited a team without a returning starter and without a signee for the upcoming season. During his first season, he led the Mocs to a 21-9 mark - producing the program's first 20-win season in six years. The Mocs followed by winning 19 games during 2003-04 and came within one game of the NCAA Tournament for a second-straight season after losing in the Southern Conference title game both years.
Chattanooga ranked among the nation's top eight in scoring offense in each of Lebo's two campaigns on the sideline, averaging over 81 points per game both sea-sons. The Mocs also stood sixth nationally in field goal percentage and assists per game during the 2003-04 season.
After the 2003-04 campaign, Lebo accepted the head coaching position at Au-burn despite inheriting a program facing NCAA sanctions and became the fifth-winningest coach in 104-year history of Tiger basketball with a 96-93 record during his tenure at the Southeastern Conference member school.
Of the five scholarship players during his first season at Auburn, four were guards that resulted in the Tigers' distinction as one of the smallest Division I teams in the country. Despite the obstacles, Lebo posted his first winning season just two years later and laid the groundwork for a 24-victory campaign in 2008-09 - tying for the second-highest win total in Auburn Basketball history.
He spent one season as a member of the San Antonio Spurs before pursuing a career in coaching.
Lebo began his coaching career as an assistant at East Tennessee State under Alan LeForce for two seasons from 1990 to 1992. The Buccaneers made two-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the second round in 1992 after the 14th-seeded Bucs upset third-seeded Arizona. ETSU, which was finally eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by eventual national runner-up Michigan, 102-90, went 24-7 and won both the 1992 Southern Conference regular season and tournament championships. The Bucs went 28-5 in 1990-91 and won both the Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles before losing to Iowa in the NCAA Tournament.
Lebo joined Eddie Fogler's staff as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt in 1992-93. During his only season in Nashville, Lebo helped coach the Commodores to an SEC Championship, a Sweet 16 appearance and a 28-6 record.
He then followed Fogler to South Carolina the next year, where he spent five seasons and played a key role assisting the Gamecocks to their only SEC title in 1997 and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. In his final three seasons in Columbia, Lebo helped the Gamecocks to an average of 22 wins per year, posting records of 19-12, 24-8 and 23-8.
A four-year letterman at North Carolina, Lebo played for legendary coach Dean Smith and was part of a Tar Heel program that posted a 116-25 record during his career, captured a pair of ACC regular season titles and won the 1989 ACC Tournament title. UNC advanced to the Sweet 16 each of his four years and made two Elite Eight appearances. He was a two-time All-ACC Tournament selection and a second-team all-conference pick in 1988.
Upon graduation in 1989, Lebo was honored with the prestigious Patterson Award as the school's top student-athlete. On the floor, he currently ranks eighth on the school's career assists list and 24th on its career scoring chart. He was a high school All-America selection at Carlisle (Pa.) High School, where he was a four-year starter for his father, Dave, and contributed to a 108-9 prep record. His high school career culminated with the 1985 Class 4A Championship as a senior.
Lebo is married to the former Melissa Mills of Williamston, N.C. and they are the parents of daughters Addison and Mills, along with son Creighton. Lebo's father-in-law, former ECU football letterman `Dink' Mills, served Williamston High School as its long-time football coach and athletics director.
|THE JEFF LEBO FILE
|Born||Oct. 5, 1966
|High School||Carlisle (Pa.) HS
|College||North Carolina, 1989 (B.A.)
children: Addison, Mills, Creighton
|High School||Carlisle (Pa.) HS (1982-85)|
|College||University of North Carolina (1986-89)|
|Professional||San Antonio Spurs (1989-90)|
|1990-92||East Tennessee State University, assistant coach|
|1992-93||Vanderbilt University, assistant coach|
|1993-98||University of South Carolina, assistant coach|
|1998-2002||Tennessee Tech, head coach|
|2002-04||University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, head coach|
|2004-10||Auburn University, head coach|
|2010-Present||East Carolina University, head coach|
|2001||Ohio Valley Confernce Regular Season|
|2002||Ohio Valley Conference Regular Season|
|2003||Southern Conference South Division|
|2013||CollegeInsiders.com Postseason Tournament (CIT)|
|2000||Ohio Valley Conference Coach-of-the-Year|
|2001||Ohio Valley Conference Coach-of-the-Year|
|2002||Ohio Valley Conference Coach-of-the-Year
|2001-02||Tennessee Tech||NIT||Lost to Memphis in the quarterfinals|
|2008-09||Auburn||NIT||Lost to Baylor in the quarterfinals|
|2010-11||East Carolina||CIT||Lost to Jacksonville in the first round|
|2012-13||East Carolina||CIT||Defeated Weber State in the championship game|
|2013-14||East Carolina||CIT||Lost to Wright State in the first round|
|HEAD COACHING RECORD
|Career||16 Seasons||284-217 (.567)||130-130 (.500)|