Ernie Nestor begins his first season as a member of the Missouri Basketball coaching staff and starts his 43rd season overall as a basketball coach.
Nestor is no stranger to player development and bench strategy at the major college level. He has spent time in the Pac-10, ACC, SEC and Big Ten conferences as an assistant during his four-decade collegiate coaching career and shared time on Dave Odom's staff at Wake Forest with Coach Haith. He has also twice been a Division I head coach during his career, with stints at both Elon College and George Mason.
"It's exciting to be reunited with Frank here at Missouri," Nestor said. "Frank is an outstanding coach, someone who has the ability to connect with young men and get the most out of them. I am also excited to be part of the Missouri family. Being around the college game for 40 years, I know what it means when someone says Mizzou Basketball. These fans expect discipline and toughness and that's what we will give them."
Nestor comes to Mizzou after one season as the Director of Basketball Operations at Penn State University. The Nittany Lions were one of the country's most improved teams in 2010-11, going 19-15 and earning an at-large spot in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The season prior, Penn State went just 11-20 and failed to reach post season play.
Nestor's coaching experience began in 1970 with a six-year stint as a high school head coach, but continued with collegiate stops at James Madison (1976-79), Wake Forrest (1979-85), California (1985-88), George Mason (1988-93), a return trip to Wake Forest (1993-2001), South Carolina (2001-03), Elon (2003-2009) and Penn State (2010-11).
"Ernie has 42 years of coaching experience and is someone I have a great deal of respect for," Haith said. "He just has a tremendous understanding of the game and has a great ability to teach it as well. You look at some of the players he has mentored over the years and you get a sense of who Ernie Nestor is. Guys like Tim Duncan, Josh Howard, Darius Songaila. These are NBA veterans. Players get better when they work with Coach Nestor and that's why I am so excited to join our family."
Nestor's five seasons at George Mason and six years at Elon were as the program's head coach. He led George Mason to its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 1989 and topped the 20-win mark each of his first-two seasons. He returned to Wake Forest in 1993 and helped the Demon Deacons to ACC Championships in 1995 and 1996 and that 1996 club advanced to the NCAA regional final, where it fell to eventual NCAA National Champion, Kentucky. In 1997 Haith and Nestor began their coaching relationship in Winston-Salem.
Nestor returned to the head coaching ranks at Elon College in 2003 and he directed the school's first winning season as a Division I program in 2005-06. The Phoenix won 15 games (15-14 overall), including a 74-69 win at Clemson. The team also claimed the Southern Conference's North Division crown and he was named the SoCon Coach of the Year by both the league's coaches and media.
Nestor is a 1968 graduate of Alderson-Broaddus College (W. Va.) and he earned his graduate degree from West Virginia in 1970. He and his wife, Janet, have two children, Stephanie and Jennifer. They also have four grandchildren, Kodiak, Lucy, Clio and Jude.