April 10, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas - Rice University head men's basketball coach Mike Rhoades continues to build his staff as he announced the hiring of assistant coach J.D. Byers, director of operations Graham Bousley and strength and conditioning coach Nick Michael on Thursday. Rhoades also announced that Rice alum Adam Gierlach will become video coordinator.
Byers brings eight seasons of assistant coaching experience to Rice following an outstanding collegiate playing career. Most recently, he helped turn around the program in three seasons at Radford. The Highlanders won just six games in Byers' first season but greatly improved in each of his following seasons on staff, culminating with 22 wins and Radford's first postseason win in its NCAA Division I era in 2013-14.
Prior to serving at Radford, Byers spent the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach at St. Francis (Pa.) following three seasons at Randolph-Macon College, including two years under Rhoades. The Yellow Jackets won 66 games during his time on the bench and advanced to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 2010.
Upon his 2005 graduation from Lebanon Valley College, Byers spent one season at Fairleigh Dickinson-Madison as a graduate assistant before returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach for one year.
The 2005 NABC All-American and CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year honoree claimed the Jostens Trophy, given annually to the top Division III basketball student-athlete. Along with Rhoades, Byers is one of five men's basketball players to have his jersey (No. 23) retired by Lebanon Valley.
Bousley comes to South Main from VCU, where he served as graduate assistant for the past two seasons. He helped the coaching staff and team prepare in practices and aided the Rams to 53 wins over two seasons with trips to the NCAA Tournament in each campaign.
The Los Angeles native worked as head student manager during his years at Wisconsin and graduated with degrees in Biomedical Engineering and History in 2012. During Bousley's four years on campus, the Badgers advanced to the NCAA Tournament four times, including two Sweet Sixteen appearances. Under head coach Bo Ryan, the team won 95 games in the four-season stretch.
Michael also comes to South Main from VCU, where he spent the 2013-14 season working with the Rams basketball team as strength and conditioning graduate assistant coach. Prior to that 26-win campaign, he spent two seasons as an assistant basketball coach at his alma mater, Elmhurst College in Illinois.
At Elmhurst, Michael worked under head coach Mark Scherer, who he also played for from the 2003-04 through 2006-07 seasons. He ranks in the top 10 in the program's career record book in numerous categories, including points scored (1,199) and rebounds (588).
After earning a degree in Management Information Systems, Michael played basketball professionally in Ireland and Germany for four seasons. He also earned a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from Elmhurst in 2013 while serving as an assistant coach.
Gierlach has been a staple of the Rice men's basketball program since his arrival on campus as a freshman six years ago. He served as a student manager for four seasons with the Owls, including two years as the team's head manager. Following his 2012 graduation, he has served in a variety of roles including Assistant Coach in 2013-14 and Video Coordinator and Director of Player Development in 2012-13.
The staff members join associate head coach Scott Pera, who was hired last week. Rhoades has one more assistant coach position to fill to complete his staff.