PIKEVILLE – He helped bring the school its first-ever men’s basketball national championship in 2001, became a popular member of the community in three seasons in Pikeville and cemented himself as a talented, up-and-coming basketball coach.
Now, he is departing Pikeville to move to the NCAA Division I level.
Associated Head Coach Brett Rector is finishing his responsibilities at the University of Pikeville and will be named to the women’s basketball coaching staff at Eastern Kentucky University next week.
Rector came to Pikeville from WVU Tech before the 2009-10 season and will leave a void in the coaching staff, said Kelly Wells. “”It’s a sad, but happy time, if that makes sense,” he said. “He’s definitely ready to be a Div. I assistant, but at that same time you hate losing quality people and quality coaches.
“We’ll never be able to repay him for all he’s done for our school and our program. We certainly wish him the best of luck.”
Rector was on the bench for 68 wins in the last three seasons, including the one on Tuesday, March 22, 2011, when the Bears knocked off Mountain State University 83-76 in overtime to win the NAIA Division I men’s basketball national championship.
He feels as if a piece of him will stay in Pikeville when he leaves.
“It’s been great to be here and a great opportunity for me,” he said. “With the success we’ve had the last three years, including the national championship, I feel like I’ll always have a relationship with Pikeville, the university and the athletics department.
“I can’t thank the staff and administration, and certainly Kelly, enough for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow as both a coach and a recruiter. There are a lot of great people here in Pikeville, and that’s what makes it tough to leave.
“My time here is something I’ll never forget.”
Rector is a West Virginia native who was a 1,000-point scorer in college. He played at Ravenswood High School before spending one year at WVU Tech and three at Davis & Elkins College.
Rector helped the Golden Bears to a 20-11 season in 2008-09, the first 20-win season for Tech in 19 years.
As a student-athlete, Rector scored 1,249 points and made 300 three-point shots. He was a three-year team captain at Davis & Elkins and was honorable mention All-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletics Conference for two seasons.
He was a first-team all-state prep performer as both a basketball and football player. On the gridiron, the quarterback set 17 school and one state passing record. In addition, he was an honorable mention all-state baseball player.