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Chris Vincent lands job on Southern Miss. coaching staff

Chris Vincent has done a little bit of everything in the college basketball profession.

He's served as director of basketball operations at Yale, worked as video coordinator at Delaware and spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach on the junior college level at Miami Dade College. He's also been an assistant at Coast Guard Academy.

His jack-of-all-trades resume helped him land a job at Southern Mississippi where he'll be the video coordinator on head coach Jay Ladner's staff.

Ladner met Vincent, a 2009 Norwich Free Academy graduate, during a recruiting trip to Miami Dade.

"He came to practice to see one of our guys and we connected,'' Vincent said. "A  position opened up and I told him I was interested in it. I ended up interviewing with him and I hit it off with the staff.

"The facilities there are high major. It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. To get back to the DI level is something I've been itching for."

Ladner talked to Vincent on the phone a number of times and also interviewed him in person in Mississippi. He came away "incredibly impressed."

Miami Dade coach Kevin Ledoux, who is a friend of Ladner's, gave a glowing recommendation.

"Kevin, who I have great respect for, had nothing but great things to say," Ladner said. "We had a great group of people that wanted to interview for the position. Every time we would go through and narrow the pool down, his name kept coming back to the top.

"His experience at Yale and at Delaware and then obviously at Miami Dade, he's done a little bit of everything. We were really looking for somebody that was much more than just a video coordinator. It's such a critical job. We wanted somebody that was a little more broad-based and he fit exactly what we were looking for."

Vincent's job is expected to expand beyond his duties as video coordinator. He'll do more than break down video and prepare scouting reports.

The NCAA is allowing college basketball programs to apply for a waiver that allows staff members in Vincent's position to do some work on the court. It's not official yet in Vincent's case.

Ladner expects to count on Vincent in a number of ways.

"Because of his operations background, he's going to be able to help with a lot of other things in the office," Ladner said. "We're anticipating him being on the floor, so he's going to help us as far as teaching the game, too. I really truly believe that we're going to get more than our money's worth, and that's a great thing."

Vincent also sees the job as a potential opportunity to provide a stepping stone in his profession. Eventually, he'd like to be a Division I assistant and then head coach.

"There's an opportunity there," Vincent said. "I'm excited."

He's joining a program that's in a rebuilding mode. The Golden Eagles went 9-22 overall last season in Ladner's first season. They belong to Conference USA.

Ladner has had success rebuilding programs before, helping turn Southeastern Louisiana from a 12-win team to a Southland Conference regular season champion before taking the job at his alma mater.

His first recruiting class at Southern Miss. features a first team junior college All-American and a high quality transfer from Wyoming, so the Golden Eagles are expected to be an improved team.

Vincent is looking forward to working with Ladner and the rest of the Southern Miss. staff.

"Conference USA is a great conference and I'm going to learn a lot from him," Vincent said. "He's been a tremendous coach. I've heard nothing but great things about him."

Vincent's new job officially starts on Monday.

Until then, he'll be busy packing up and moving from Coconut Grove, a Miami neighborhood, to Hattiesburg, Miss., the home of Southern Miss.

"It's a good situation with great people," Vincent said. "The people in the south are so nice and very welcoming. And the staff is great."

g.keefe@theday.com

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