Aug. 25, 2011
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - SIUE men's basketball Head Coach Lennox Forrester has announced that Deryl Cunningham has been added to his staff as an assistant coach. Cunningham replaces Mark Allaria who left the program during the summer.
"He is a coach who genuinely cares about the student-athlete and wants to help them get better on and off the floor," Forrester said of Cunningham. "He is a coach that is well liked and respected within the coaching community."
"I am happy to be here," Cunningham said. "I am excited about the opportunity given to me by Coach Forrester who is known as a good man in this business."
Cunningham comes to SIUE after most recently serving as an assistant with the Missouri Valley Conference Champion Indiana State. Cunningham worked with the Sycamores for three seasons. Indiana State went to the postseason in two of the three seasons while Cunningham served as a coach with the team. He previously spent time as an assistant coach with South Dakota State as a graduate assistant and a full-time assistant under former SIUE assistant Scott Nagy. Cunningham was part of the Jack Rabbits' move to Division I and their first season in the Summit League.
"It's great to have someone who went to the NCAA Tournament last year," Forrester said. "But a big key is that he was at South Dakota State when it went through its transition to Division I. He understands the players' mindsets and will be able to help them to prepare on a day-to-day basis."
"I have been through the transition before," Cunningham said of his experience. "I have experienced those same ups and downs and aches and pains."
At Indiana State and South Dakota State, Cunningham was involved in all facets of the basketball programs, including recruiting, coaching, scouting, and scheduling. He worked primarily with the post players at both schools.
Prior to his time at South Dakota State, Cunningham spent two seasons as an assistant varsity basketball coach at his alma mater, St. Joseph's High School. He helped guide St. Joseph's to a conference title in 2003-2004 and a 28-2 record and a Regional Championship during the 2004-2005 season. The 2004-05 team finished the year ranked among USA Today's Top 20.
The Bellwood, Ill., native also has been an official for the Illinois High School Association.
While a player at St. Joseph's, Cunningham was tabbed as a 1989 Parade magazine All-American, which recognizes the top 25 high school players in the country. Cunningham was elected to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2004 his jersey was retired by St. Joseph's. Cunningham is featured in Taylor Bell's 2006 book, Glory Days Illinois Legends of High School Basketball, which focuses on some of the greatest high school players from the 1940s through the 1990s.
Cunningham began his college playing career at DePaul before finishing at Kansas State where he played three seasons with the Wildcats. Cunningham led the team in rebounding in back-to-back seasons in 1992-1993 and 1993-1994. He remains seventh on the all-time rebounding list with 624 career rebounds with the Wildcats. His 295 boards during the 1993-94 season remains the ninth-highest total in a single season in school history. Kansas State earned a six seed in the NCAA tournament during his junior year, and the Wildcats were an NIT Final Four team in Cunningham's senior season. He was a two-time All-Big Eight Honorable Mention selection while at K-State, while leading the league in offensive rebounds for two consecutive years.
As a professional, Cunningham had a three-year career in the Continental Basketball Association. Cunningham was drafted by Sioux Falls where he played for current Washington Wizards Head Coach Flip Saunders. Cunningham also played for Omaha. He reached the Conference finals with both teams. He later played one season with the Saskatchewan Hawks where he averaged 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Cunningham also played five seasons of First Division basketball for clubs in Switzerland, the Philippines, France, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico.
"He will definitely have the ears of our student-athletes because of the things he has accomplished in his college and professional career," Forrester said.
"I hope that my experience will help our student-athletes and that I can contribute to this coaching staff," Cunningham said.