In his third season on the Nittany Lion staff, Lewis Preston has developed a reputation as a strong recruiter and developer of post players during more than 10 years in collegiate coaching.
He spent two years as an assistant coach on Billy Donovan's staff at Florida and before that spent six years under Mike Brey at Notre Dame. Florida won the second of its back-to-back national championships in Preston's first year on the Gators' staff where he was an integral part of Florida's recruiting, scouting, game preparation and on-court teaching.
Preston worked with 2007 first-round NBA draft picks Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer and second-round selection Taurean Green while at Florida. At Notre Dame he had the opportunity to work with two first-round draft picks in back-to-back seasons in Troy Murphy (2001) and Ryan Humphrey (2002) as well as current NBA players Matt Carroll, David Graves, Chris Thomas and Chris Quinn.
During his time on the Notre Dame staff, Preston was instrumental in the development of the Irish post players and earned a reputation as a highly regarded national recruiter. He helped the Irish to a 118-70 (.628) mark in six years in South Bend, including three NCAA Tournament appearances and a Sweet 16 showing in 2003. The Irish reached the postseason in each of Preston's six years at Notre Dame.
The Boones Mill, Va., native joined the Irish men's basketball program following two seasons as an assistant on Pete Strickland's staff at Coastal Carolina.
A 1993 graduate of Virginia Military Institute, Preston spent four years playing professionally in Europe with stints in Luxembourg, Ireland and Finland. In his first season in Luxembourg, he averaged 25.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and three blocks per game and continued to average a double-double in points and rebounds throughout his professional career.
Preston had an outstanding collegiate career after playing just one season at Franklin County (Va.) High School. He began as a walk-on at VMI, but left as just the 21st 1,000-point scorer in school history and a school-record holder in four categories. Preston's 1,146 career points rank19th on the VMI scoring list.
As a senior, Preston led the Keydets in scoring (16.7), rebounding (7.1), field-goal percentage (.540), free- throw percentage (.800) and blocked shots (48). During the 1992-93 campaign, Preston scored in double figures in all but four of VMI's 27 contests and had 20 or more points on seven occasions. His career high came in '93 against The Citadel, when he poured in 37 points while adding 15 rebounds. That performance marked the fourth-highest individual scoring game in school history.
Preston is the school's record holder in career blocked shots (202), registering three of the top four blocked shot seasons in Keydet history, including a school-record 65 in 1992. Preston also is the co-holder of the VMI record for blocked shots in a game, which he set by rejecting seven shot attempts against Marshall in '92. He also shares the VMI record for field goals in a game (16 vs. Western Carolina in '92).
A two-time all-Southern Conference selection, Preston led the league in blocked shots twice and finished as its second all-time shot-blocking leader. He concluded his career at the Lexington, Va., school with averages of 10.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Born Oct. 31, 1970, Preston graduated from VMI with a bachelor's degree in history and a minor in English literature. He married the former Angela Sangermano in May of 2001. The couple has two daughters, Alexandra, born in December of 2002, and Emma, born in January of 2005.