New Coaching Staff Leads Men’s Basketball

Erin Hickle

Currently standing 6-8 in the conference and 8-13 overall, the Manchester men’s basketball team is looking to the rest of February with four games remaining in the regular season. Three of those four games will be here in Stauffer-Wolfe Arena.

The 2019-20 men’s basketball season brings new opportunity and leadership to the Spartans. This season, MU is led by new head and assistant basketball coaches. Nate Conley was named head coach of the Manchester University men’s basketball program in October 2019. Conley comes to Manchester after serving on the coaching staff at Ohio Wesleyan University.

During his time at OWU, the basketball team produced a record of 119-49 along with a record of 79-29 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) play. Conley also helped lead the Battling Bishops to three NCAC regular season conference titles and three straight NCAA Division III tournament appearances. Prior to time with OWU, Conley served as the graduate assistant men’s basketball coach at Defiance College. Conley earned both his bachelor and master’s degrees from there.

“It is with great enthusiasm and gratitude I begin as the next head men’s basketball coach at Manchester University,” Conley said. “The passion that the coaches, student-athletes, administrators, and alumni have for the educational experience at MU, combined with the pride and tradition of this men’s basketball program, makes this a tremendous opportunity for me and my family.”

Joining Conley as the assistant men’s basketball coach is Ryan Strohm. He arrives to the Manchester University program after serving as a graduate assistant as Kansas State. During his time at Kansas State, the Wildcats won the 2018-19 Big 12 regular season championship and advanced to the Elite Eight during the 2017-18 season. Strohm spent one season as an assistant coach at Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School in St. Louis, MS, and was a trainer for Pure Sweet Basketball. The St. Louis native played Division III baseball at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri and at Greenville College in Greenville, IL. Strohm earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2016 from Greenville University. He then received his master’s degree from Kansas State in 2019 in academic advising.

On Feb. 5, the Manchester Spartans took down the Defiance Yellow Jackets with a score of 77-84. Following a 61-51 upset victory over the Hanover College Panthers on Saturday, Feb. 1, a strong offensive showing helped the Spartans to another victory over the Yellow Jackets. The Spartans shot 49.2 % from the field and finished 75 % from the foul line. The game leaders for the Spartans were junior CJ Hampton with 24 points, senior Abdul Ogunaike with seven rebounds, and senior Keiton Hall with six assists. This pushed Manchester to become one game behind Bluffton College for the sixth and final HCAC playoff spot. Defiance is currently 10-11, 5-9 in the HCAC.

To follow up Wednesday night’s game, Manchester traveled to Franklin College on Saturday, Feb. 8. The Grizzlies overpowered the Spartans, defeating them 61-84. The Spartans shot for 43 percent from the field in the first half, but the Grizzlies’ offense was difficult for Manchester to contain. The game leaders for MU were junior CJ Hampton with 20 points, junior DeMoines Whitney with three assists, and three players tied for seven rebounds. These players were Abdul Ogunnaike, DeMoines Whitney, and CJ Hampton. The Manchester men’s basketball team fell to 6-8 in HCAC play on the year. Franklin managed to snap a three-game losing streak and moved to 14- 7, 10-4 in the HCAC on the year.

The Manchester men’s basketball team will return home to host the Bluffton Beavers on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. The last home game is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22. Both the men and women will face off against the Quakers. The women’s tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. and the men’s tipoff is set for 4:00 p.m.