Thornton Accepts Assistant Coaching Position at Furman
May 10, 2011
CINCINNATI - Brian Thornton, Xavier's Director of Men's Basketball Operations for the past two seasons, has accepted an assistant coaching position at Furman University. Xavier head coach Chris Mack announced that he will fill the director of basketball operations position with Jeremy Growe, who has been a graduate assistant in the program the past two years.
"Brian has done an excellent job on our staff the past two years," said Mack. "He is ready to take that next step on the coaching ladder as an assistant coach. He will be missed on our staff but what an exciting opportunity for Brian. As a student-athlete, Brian was the total package. He was a First Team All-Atlantic 10 selection. He was an All-Academic performer. He's someone that players can emulate in every way. As a coach, Brian is off to a great start to what I believe will be a long, successful coaching career at the college level.
"Jeremy has done a great job during his two seasons in the program," said Mack, "and it made the decision on Brian's replacement an easy one. Jeremy is ready to take that next step and assume even more responsibility in the program."
Growe, a 24-year-old native of St. Louis, Mo., came to Xavier after graduating from Indiana University in May of 2009 with a degree in sport marketing and management. While a graduate assistant, Growe completed his master's degree in sport administration.
During his time at Indiana, Growe spent the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons as a student manager. His duties included assisting on the floor with workouts and practices, film work, helping with camps and day-to-day operations with the team. During Growe's time at IU, the Hoosiers went 46-18 including two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Growe also spent the summers of 2008 and 2009 working with the Indiana Elite AAU program.
Thornton expressed his appreciation to Mack and the Xavier community. "I want to thank Coach Mack for giving me the opportunity to get started in the collegiate coaching profession," said Thornton. "I have learned a great deal from Coach Mack and my experiences at Xavier both as a player and a staff member. This is a tremendous opportunity to get some valuable experience on the floor and on the recruiting trail. Xavier will always be a place that is very special to me."
Thornton, a 2005 Xavier University graduate, excelled both on and off the court at XU. His senior season he was named as an ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American, the first Xavier men's basketball student-athlete to earn Academic All-American honors. In addition, he earned First Team Academic All-District 4, Atlantic 10 Conference Student-Athlete of the Year for two straight years and Academic All-Atlantic 10 for two consecutive years.
Thornton, 28, played two seasons at Xavier under Sean Miller after transferring from Vanderbilt University. He scored 1,175 points in his collegiate career, including 611 for Xavier and 564 for Vanderbilt. His two-year Musketeer career field goal percentage of 61.9 percent broke the XU career two-year record. Despite having his Xavier senior year cut short after 21 games due to injury, Thornton earned a long list of postseason honors, including 2005-06 First Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference and NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) All-District 10 First Team. Thornton led the team in scoring (15.3 ppg.), rebounding (6.8 rpg.), field goal percentage (first in the Atlantic 10 and top 10 in the nation at 64.0 percent) and blocks (2.1 bpg.) before seeing his career end during a game against La Salle at Cintas Center (2-11-06). XU finished that season at 21-11, won the Atlantic 10 Tournament and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Thornton averaged 10.7 ppg. and 5.8 rpg. as a junior in the 2004-05 season as XU finished 17-12. Thornton started 46 of his 48 games at Xavier.
Thornton played in 61 games in two seasons at Vanderbilt under Kevin Stallings, including 40 starts. He averaged 7.2 ppg. and 4.6 rpg. as a freshman in the 2001-02 season and earned a spot on the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team as he helped the Commodores advance to the second round of the postseason NIT. He averaged 11.5 ppg. and 5.7 rpg. as a sophomore in the 2002-03 season. Prior to Vanderbilt, Thornton was an All-State standout at Louisville's DuPont Manual High School.
Following his collegiate career, Thornton played professional basketball in Germany in the first division, Basketball Bundesliga League (BBL), in 2006-07 and helped his team reach the League Championship Game. He returned to Xavier in the fall of 2007 as a volunteer assistant on Sean Miller's staff, while completing work on his MBA. More recently, Thornton spent time in the business world as a manager in the Cintas Document Management Division.
Thornton, a native of Louisville, Ky., graduated cum laude with an undergraduate degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in business (2005) from Xavier University. He also earned his MBA (2007) from XU.