Sports

Where and why a basketball court is being named after a Coastal Carolina coach

Coastal Carolina men's basketball coach Cliff Ellis speaks to the crowd at the HTC Center during the Hoopla event prior to the 2017-18 season. Ellis is entering his 12th season at CCU.
Coastal Carolina men's basketball coach Cliff Ellis speaks to the crowd at the HTC Center during the Hoopla event prior to the 2017-18 season. Ellis is entering his 12th season at CCU. file photo

CCU men’s basketball coach Cliff Ellis, who is fifth among active Division I men’s basketball coaches in wins, is being honored at the school where it all started for him as a head coach.

Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn., where Ellis coached from 1972-75, will name its basketball court after him. Cumberland athletic director Ron Pavan announced the floor at Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena will be named after Ellis at a public ceremony on Aug. 17.

Ellis, a 1968 graduate of Florida State, posted a 78-12 record in three seasons at Cumberland in his first head coaching job. The NAIA school was then known as Cumberland Junior College.

Ellis went from Cumberland to South Alabama from 1975-84, then coached Clemson from 1984-94 and Auburn from 1994-2004, and is now entering his 12th season at CCU.

He is 825-491 overall, including 213-141 at CCU, and has reached the NCAA Tournament at all four of his Division I schools. He was a national coach of the year in 1999 when Auburn won the SEC title.

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