ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A Bremen grad and former Ancilla basketball coach has guided Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina to its first-ever postseason championship.
Greg Neeley, a 2003 BHS grad, took the reins at Warren Wilson College this year after a two-year stint as head coach of the Chargers men’s basketball program. In his first season at the helm of the Owls, Neeley coached the team to the United States Collegiate Athletics Association Division II championship, which they clinched with a 76-68 victory over Penn State Fayette in the tournament final in Uniontown Pennsylvania last weekend.
It was Warren Wilson’s first national championship in the more than four decades the Owls have had a basketball program, and Neeley credited his team’s five seniors and the general unselfishness of the squad with the championship in an interview with the school’s news site, the Warren Wilson Echo.
“I do think that our team chemistry has been a big advantage for us,” he told the site. “Our guys genuinely care about being good teammates and have been willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the team.
“The work ethic and drive of our seniors is a big reason for our success. Each one of our seniors brings a unique skill set physically and emotionally, and their ability to mesh and push our team has been tremendous.”
Neeley finished his first season at Warren Wilson with a head coaching record of 19-10, which included a season-ending 12-game win streak culminating in the Owls’ USCAA DII title. Warren Wilson entered the 10-team tournament as a No. 9 seed, knocking off No. 1 seed New Hampshire College — which boasted a 33-4 record at the time — in the tourney quarterfinals.
As the head coach at Ancilla prior to his current role at Warren Wilson, Neeley helped the Chargers notch their second highest win total since 2005 in 2011-2012 on the way to the National Junior College Athletic Association District 8 Tournament. In his first season as head coach at Ancilla, Neeley led the program to its second most conference wins.
After graduating from Ohio Northern University, Neeley started his coaching career as a JV coach and varsity assistant at Allen East High School in Lafayette, Ohio. He moved on to become the top assistant coach at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, where he coordinated the NCAA DIII program’s recruiting efforts while working toward his Master’s of Business Administration. Neeley also led the Piedmont men’s and women’s tennis programs to a six-win improvement in his first and only season as head coach.
Neeley is a 2003 Bremen grad and the son of Randy and Karen Neeley. He and his wife Jessica reside in Swannanoa, N.C.