Getting To Know The Highlanders
- Head coach: Jim Engles (8th year)
- 2015 record: 21-12
- 2015 postseason: CollegeInsider.com Tournament
- Conference: Atlantic Sun (1st season)
- vs UK All-time: First meeting
Jim Engles enters his 8th season as the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) men's basketball head coach. Few college coaches anywhere, in any sport, have transformed their program the way Jim Engles has since taking over at NJIT in 2008.
Stepping in for the 2008-09 season, he inherited a program that had been 0-29 the year before, in its second season of Division I competition. The 0-29 from the previous year had been preceded by four losses at the end of the 2006-07 season. And NJIT was an Independent, with no conference tournament to look forward to.
In fact, zero chance at postseason play in those years. In that first year, the improvement was modest in terms of wins (one), but the specter of the program’s long losing streak was put to rest, ending in the 19th game of Engles’ first season as a head coach.
Engles was honored by CollegeInsider.com as 2014-15 John McLendon National Coach of the Year and shared the 2014-15 Peter A. Carlesimo Division I Coach of the Year award. NJIT's Engles was also among 16 finalists for three other CollegeInsider.com awards: Hugh Durham Award, Jim Phelan Award, and Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award.
With a still-young squad in 2014-15 (two seniors), the previous season’s learning experiences paid off in a big way as NJIT had a watershed season that would make Engles and his Highlanders a national story, and for all the right reasons. On December 6 the Highlanders earned their first victory over a top 25 opponent as Engles and the Highlanders went into Ann Arbor and stunned Michigan, 72-70 when the Wolverines were ranked #17 in the AP national poll and #16 in the USA Today national poll.
As great as that signature win was, NJIT still had to prove it wasn't a one-off fluke. The Highlanders did exactly that, finishing with 21 victories. The wins came against teams from nine different Division I conferences, including Northeast Conference regular-season champion St. Francis Brooklyn, Ivy League co-champion Yale, and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Hampton, which would win a First Four game in the NCAA Tournament.
The Highlanders were a program-record 15-2 at home, including three consecutive wins in sold-out Fleisher Athletic Center in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) to reach the semifinals at Northern Arizona. From December 30 to the end of the season, NJIT's record was 16-3.
G Damon Lynn -- 5'11", Jr. -- 17.5 ppg
G Winfield Willis -- 6'0", Sr. -- 12.2 ppg
G Ky Howard -- 6'4", Sr. -- 10.9 ppg
F Rob Ukawuba -- 6'3", Jr. -- 6.5 ppg
F Tim Coleman -- 6'5", Jr. -- 11.5 ppg
- Date: November 14
- Time: 8:00 PM
- Location: Rupp Arena, Lexington
- Network: SEC Network + and is available only online through the WatchESPN app
- Radio: Radio: 98.1 FM and 630 AM in Lexington. Go here for a list of radio affiliates based on where you live.
- Odds: No spread has been set as of Friday night, but check back at Odds Shark for when there is a line.