Men’s head basketball coach leaves UNCA

Morgan Nirenstein  – Copy Desk Chief – [email protected]
Men’s basketball Head Coach Eddie Biedenbach accepted a job offer as assistant head coach of men’s basketball at UNC Wilmington, UNC Asheville news sources confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.
Biedenbach worked as head coach at UNCA for 17 seasons, earning accolades such as longest-tenured coach in Big South Conference history and the leagues’ all-time winningest coach, according to UNCA officials.
Chris Stephenson, UNCA alumnus and former member of the men’s basketball team, said he was shocked to hear the news of Biedenbach’s move.
“I got a phone call from Quinard Jackson and I thought he was pulling a late April Fools’ joke,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson said the move made sense for Biedenbach who has family and a house in the Wilmington area. He does not anticipate many negative consequences for the UNCA team.
“The coaches they (UNCA) have in place are already very good, so it shouldn’t be a problem,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson said Biedenbach had a positive impact on his life.
“I came back for Homecoming just to see him. He’s one of the more influential people to come into my life, so seeing him leave is sad,” Stephenson said.
UNCA athletics officials could not be reached for comment at this time.
Last updated 4/3/2013 8:14 p.m.  Maayan Schechter – Opinion Editor – [email protected]
Trent Meyer, junior point guard for UNCA said the team did not know of Coach Biedenbach’s departure until their team meeting today.
“Everyone in the locker room was quiet and in shock,” Meyer said.
Meyer said a few of the players suspected Coach Biedenbach to leave, but not this soon.
“I’m sad to see him go because we’ve gotten close in the three years I’ve been here. He challenged me in more ways than just basketball, so I thank him for that.”
Meyer said a majority of the team will be returning next season, aside from three players graduating. He says they are fortunate.
“WIth a lot of hard work and time together, I feel like with our squad coming back has what it takes to bring another championship back to Asheville.”
UNCA Forward Jeremy Atkinson tweeted, “Sad day in Asheville.”
UNCA Guard Jaron Lane tweeted, “Not happy and lost for words..Heading to the gym.”
UNCA Guard Keith Hornsby tweeted“Shocked.”
Last updated 4/3/2013, 10:32 a.m.     Maayan Schechter – Opinion Editor – [email protected]
Josh Seligson, UNCA graduating senior guardsaid Coach Biedenbach was a great coach and mentor in his four years playing for UNCA.
“I am thankful and gracious I had the opportunity to play for him,” Seligson said. “He is definitely a player’s coach and was always willing to go to bat for us for what ever we needed.”
Seligson only wishes him and his family the best for next year.
“I am sad for my fellow underclassmen teammates who will not get the opportunity to have Coach B for all four years of their career,” Seligson said.
Seligson was shocked in the locker room when Coach Biedenbach announced his departure to UNCW as an assistant coach. But Seligson said he is doing what is best for him and his family and already has given so much back to the basketball program at UNCA. For that he is thankful.
“As for the team next year, I hope that Coach Mcdevitt can take on the job and they (UNCA) ellects to hire him,” Seligson said. “But either way, I know my teammates, and they are a tough bunch of guys and can turn this into a positive start for next season to try and make it back to the NCAA again for the third time in four years.”
Jeremy Atkinson, senior forward at UNCAalong with his teammates was shocked when Coach Biedenbach announced his departure to UNC Wilmington. Atkinson transferred to UNCA from  Louisburg College and felt Biedenbach was a good coach for the two years he played at UNCA. Atkinson said that Biedenbach told the team if the opportunity came up for him to get a job at NC State or UNCW, then he would leave because it would be a better move for him and his family.

“I just hate it for the guys next year,” Atkinson said “They all looked lost in the locker room. But I’m sure UNCA will get the right guy for the job.”

Atkinson hopes former Bulldog guard, Associate Head Coach Nick McDevitt becomes head coach for the upcoming season. Atkinson graduates UNCA basketball as Asheville’s highest leading scorer, fourth in the conference and third on the team with steals.
“I would just like to thank both Coach B and Coach Nick for giving me the opportunity to play Division 1 basketball at UNCA,” Atkinson said.
Last updated 4/3/2013, 4:06 p.m.
Jaron Lane, UNCA junior guard, was disappointed when he found out Biedenbach was leaving, but he is aware his choice to move to Wilmington to be closer to his family is for the best.
“It’s tough because he is the reason I get to fulfill my dream which is to play division 1 basketball,” Lane said. “I’m very thankful and blessed to be coached by such a wonderful man.”
Lane said Biedenbach always had the best interest of the team and the Asheville community and there is nothing bad to say about him.
“He was always there for me when I needed him. I wish him nothing but the best for him at UNCW. It’s going to be weird not seeing him on the sidelines, but we will come together as a team and continue our winning ways,” Lane said.
Lane hopes as well Coach Nick McDevitt will get the new head coach position because he is qualified, but says these next few weeks are going to be interesting.
Lane redshirted this season due to failure recovering from an ankle surgery but is looking to return as a starter this coming season.