(Story courtesy of Southwestern University)
GEORGETOWN, Texas – Southwestern University Pirates men's basketball coach Janson Hightower announced he is leaving his position for other business opportunities in the Georgetown community.
"It is with great regret that we announce the resignation of Coach Janson Hightower," Associate Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Glada Munt said. "We certainly support him in his decision to go a new direction with his professional career and are very appreciative of the hard work he has put into building our men's basketball program into a consistent contender for the SCAC title.
"As Coach Hightower steps away from Southwestern, we know the program is healthy with a great core of players returning. We will immediately begin a national search to identify our next head men's basketball coach to build on the success of our program."
Coach Hightower joined the Southwestern University staff in 2012 as an assistant for both the men's basketball and golf teams. He was promoted to men's head basketball coach in the summer of 2014 after former head coach Bill Raleigh stepped down to assume the role of Assistant Athletic Director and Exercise and Sports Studies Department Chair full-time.
The Pirates went 15-12 in Hightower's first season running the program, including 8-6 in conference play, which was a seven-game improvement from the previous season's 8-18 finish. His career record with the Pirates is 66-65 overall and 43-29 in conference, peaking with this season's 11-5 mark in SCAC play, tying the school record for most conference wins in the SCAC.
Hightower was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches 30-under-30 team in 2016, honoring the top up and coming coaches in college basketball. This season, he was named the SCAC Men's Basketball Coach of the Year after leading the Pirates to its first share of the SCAC regular season title since 2005. His .597 in-conference winning percentage is the sixth-best in league history among coaches with at least five years' experience.
Hightower is also one of two SCAC Coach of the Year winners to have won the award and played in the conference, having finished his playing career at Hendrix College as the school's all-time DIII leader in assists.
"I want to thank Dr. Glada Munt and President Edward Burger for taking a chance on me as a young assistant coach to lead this program," Hightower said. "I'm proud of the work coach Zac Graham, myself, and more importantly, our players have been able to do. They go to class and work hard, are involved with the school and community, they get professors to come to games because they're good kids who treat everyone with respect.
"I look forward to being around my family more while still being a part of the Georgetown community to support the Pirates as a fan."