The University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears basketball team will be missing a familiar face when play begins in November.
Assistant coach Greg Long has recently accepted a job as the head coach for the University of Arkansas at Monticello women’s basketball team.
“I am really happy for Greg and his family,” UCA coach Sandra Rushing said. “This has been one of his goals and now he gets to fulfill that. We’re losing a great coach, but also a great person and for me a great friend. I’m so appreciative of the time I’ve had to be around coach Long. He kept a lot of things afloat, and I’m grateful for his hard work and dedication to our program. His loyalty to me and this program, and I can’t say enough about it. I wish Greg well and know he is going to be very successful.”
Long came onto UCA coach Sandra Rushing’s coaching staff for the 2015-16 season and was promoted to assistant head coach following the 2016-17 season.
While on Rushing’s staff, Long helped guide the Sugar Bears to a 54-9 mark before his time as assistant head coach.
The Sugar Bears also went 79-19 over his first three seasons with the program’s first two NCAA Tournament berths and Southland Conference Tournament championships, along with an SLC regular season championship and the program’s first national postseason tournament victories as the Sugar Bears advanced to the championship game of the 2018 Women’s Basketball Invitational.
UCA has consistently been one of the top defensive teams in the SLC during his time on Rushing’s staff.
"The University of Arkansas at Monticello has a rich basketball tradition, and I am excited for the opportunity to lead the women's basketball program,” Long said in a news release from UAM. “My family and I are thrilled to be a part of the Monticello family and community. I believe our brand of basketball will be fun to watch and our players will be great representatives for the community. I want the thank Chancellor Karla Hughes and Padraic McMeel for the chance to leave my mark here at UAM."
Long was also on Rushing’s staff at Delta State before coming to UCA, where the Lady Statesmen were ranked No. 1 in the nation, made consecutive Sweet 16s, won consecutive conference championships and had an .820 winning percentage.
Long was also a successful high school coach, first as an assistant coach at Ocala Forest High and the head coach at Trinity Catholic, where his team improved from eight wins to 22 wins from his first to second season.
This resulted in a district title and a trip to the Sweet 16 and a Top 15 ranking in state media polls.
He also had a team become the first girls team in Florida history to be the national team of the week by maxpreps.com.
Long takes over for coach Tanya Ray and a Cotton Blossoms team that went 8-19 this season.