May 24, 2006
Gene Cross, a 10-year veteran in the collegiate coaching ranks, has been named assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Notre Dame it was announced today by Irish head coach Mike Brey. He replaces Lewis Preston who left last month to take a similar position at the University of Florida.
Cross comes to Notre Dame after spending the 2005-06 campaign at the University of Virginia where he helped the Cavaliers to a 15-15 record and a seventh-place tie in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 7-9 record after being picked in the preseason to finish 12th in the 12-team league. Virginia’s seven wins were three more than the previous season. The Cavaliers advanced to the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament after posting a 60-56 first-round victory over Virginia Tech. After falling to 10th-ranked North Carolina, the Cavaliers received a berth into the National Invitation Tournament and were defeated in a first-round game at Stanford.
Cross joined the Virginia staff after spending three seasons (2002-05) at DePaul with current Cavalier head coach Dave Leitao where he helped lead the Blue Demons to a 58-34 record for a .630 winning percentage and three postseason appearance (one NCAA and two NIT).
In 2002-03, the first season Leitao and Cross coached at DePaul the Blue Demons posted a 16-13 overall record after finishing the previous season with 9-19 mark.
In Cross’ second season, 2003-04, DePaul reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1989 after winning a share of the program’s first-ever Conference USA regular-season title finishing with a 12-4 mark (most wins in school history) that included a school-record six league road wins. As the top seed in the Conference USA Tournament, DePaul advanced to the championship game before losing to Cincinnati 55-50 in the finals.
In the first round of the tournament, DePaul defeated Dayton 76-69 in double overtime before dropping a 72-55 decision to eventual national champion Connecticut in the second round.
In 2004-05, the Blue Demons posted a 20-11 record and its second straight 20-win season for the time since the 1991 and 1992 campaigns. DePaul returned to the NIT that season and fell in its second game of the tournament to Texas A&M after defeating Missouri 75-70 in first-round action.
Prior to his stint at DePaul, Cross spent six seasons (1996-2002) at the University of Illinois-Chicago where he helped the Flames to two conference championships (1998 and 2002) and two NCAA tournament berths, the first two in the program’s history.
In his final season at UIC, the Flames finished with a 20-14 record and claimed the Horizon League tournament title. With the win, UIC earned the conference’s automatic bid into the 64-team NCAA tournament field where it lost to eventual Final Four participant Oklahoma in the opening round.
The 1997-98 squad tied a school-record with 22 wins and captured the Midwestern Collegiate Conference regular-season crown. During the regular season, the Flames had victories over conference champions Michigan State (Big Ten), Illinois State (Missouri Valley) and Valparaiso (Mid-Continent) helping them earn an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament.
A native of Chicago, Ill., Cross began his coaching career at Marion-Franklin High School in Columbus, Ohio where he coached the freshman boys’ team and served as assistant varsity boys’ coach during the 1995-96 school year.
Cross played four seasons at the University of Illinois where he lettered twice and helped the Illini to two NCAA tournament appearances in 1993 and 1994.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Illinois in ’94 and received a master’s degree in sport management at Ohio State University in ’96. While at Ohio State, he served as a graduate administrative associate in the Department of Recreational Sports.
Currently, Cross serves as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Assistant Coaches Board, a position he has held since ’03, and on the NABC Division I Congress. In addition, he also has served as a member of the Special Committee on Recruiting and Access. Cross also is a member of the Black Coaches Association.
Quote from Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey:
“I am thrilled that Gene will be joining us here at Notre Dame. He comes highly recommended and has a great reputation in the coaching fraternity. With his background and how he has been trained, he will be a great fit at Notre Dame.”
Quote from Gene Cross:
” I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dave Leitao for the profound impact he has had on my career and my life. Although I was only at Virginia for a short time, I will miss many aspects of my experience in Charlottesville, especially the student-athletes. I am extremely excited to join Mike Brey, his staff, and the Notre Dame athletics family. I look forward to working at such at prestigious institution, in a great league, and for another well-respected coach.”