Schwartz completes his coaching staff with hires

GREENVILLE, NC — Nick Matson, Josh Giardina, Keith Pough and Matthew Winsberg have been hired to ECU’s men’s basketball coaching staff, according to an announcement from head coach Mike Schwartz.

Matson and Giardina will serve as director of player personnel and director of player development, respectively, while Pough and Winsberg have been named assistant strength and conditioning coach and assistant head coach.

Matson arrives in Greenville after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at UTEP while Giardina joins ECU after a year as a graduate assistant at Tennessee.

In El Paso, Matson helped rebuild a UTEP program that saw continuous improvement over three years. During the 2019–20 campaign, the Miners won 17 games, nine more than the previous season and the biggest win improvement of any Conference-USA team; more than double their winning total in the United States Conference. UTEP posted its first winning season in four years and made a return to the C-USA tournament. The Miners finished with a 13-4 record at Haskins Center – the most home wins in four years.

“Nick is a true professional and he’s as good a coach as there is in the country,” Schwartz said. “I saw with my own eyes how impactful he was as a coach and as a person during our four years together at Fresno State. Wherever Nick went, he helped create programs He understands all aspects of what it takes to create a strong culture Nick is elite on the pitch with player development and has recruited across the country His experience as a player at VMI and his experiences as a coach make Nick the complete package both on and off the court.We are very lucky to have Nick and his wife Jessica with us here in Greenville.

At UTEP, Matson helped recruit and develop two of Conference-USA’s most successful players, Bryson Williams and Souley Boum. Both student-athletes have been selected by All-Conference USA for several years.

Matson came to UTEP after seven seasons (2011-18) at Fresno State, most recently as an assistant coach. The Bulldogs have recorded 20 or more wins in four of the last five seasons, won the Mountain West Conference title in 2016, and appeared in three postseason tournaments (2014 CBI, 2016 NCAA, 2017 NIT). From 2015 to 2018, the Bulldogs were one of the most successful squad-5 basketball programs in the nation, earning an NCAA Tournament berth in 2016 and an NIT at-large selection in 2017.

Matson played an important role in developing and scouting players for the Bulldogs. Fresno State has had multiple All-Conference selections, including 2015-16 Mountain West Player of the Year Marvelle Harris. During the 2017-18 season, guard Deshon Taylor earned All-MWC First Team honors after averaging 17.8 points per game. Forward Bryson Williams was a third All-MWC team selection. Sam Bittner and Jahmel Taylor were among the national and MWC leaders in three-point shooting during the 2017-18 season.

Before being elevated to assistant coach, Matson spent five years as director of basketball operations and one season as a graduate assistant at Fresno State.

Matson spent the 2010-11 season as a graduate assistant at Murray State under head coach Billy Kennedy. The Racers finished 23-9, won the Ohio Valley Conference Championship, and went 14-4 in the league. Matson assisted with video, scouting and player development at Murray State, working with All-American guard and future NBA player Isaiah Canaan.

Matson began his career as a trainee coach at Stanford under Johnny Dawkins during the 2009-10 season. He assisted with recruiting administration, team operations and scouting reports.

Matson earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 2009. He served as the Keydets’ guard from 2006 to 2008. VMI used a fast-paced offense that set all-time NCAA records for points per game, steals and three points made in a season. In 2008-09, Matson served as an undergraduate assistant coach, one of the most successful seasons in VMI history. The Keydets finished 24-8, including an upset win over Kentucky at Rupp Arena. The Keydets advanced to the 2007 and 2009 Big South Conference Championship games.

Giardina’s most recent stop was on Rick Barnes’ staff at Tennessee as a graduate assistant for the 2021-22 season. He was instrumental in the development of All-SEC freshman Zakai Zeigler and All-SEC point guard and SEC Tournament MVP Kennedy Chandler. During the outstanding first season of the first year with the Vols in 2021-22. Chandler led UT in scoring (13.9 ppg), assists (4.7 apg) and steals (2.18 spg) while shooting 38% from 3-point range

We are very lucky to have Josh with us here at ECU,” said Schwartz. “He’s the ultimate grinder and was one of the first coaches we wanted on our coaching staff. He had a big impact on our players during our time in Tennessee together and has done the same here before with our team.He is one of the sharpest young coaches in the profession with extensive experience in player development, video editing and scouting.

Prior to Tennessee, Giardina spent the 2020-21 season as a graduate assistant at Radford University under head coach Mike Jones. Radford was expected to finish fifth in the Big South standings. The 2020-2021 Highlanders incoming recruiting class added 8 new players to the program, 5 of whom were freshmen. Radford exceeded expectations and secured a second-place finish with a 12-6 league mark.

The native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania graduated in 2020 from Marymount University (Virginia) with a degree in health sciences. He was a standout point guard for four years for the Division III Saints and captained in his junior and senior campaign. Giardina earned Marymount’s highest honor, summa cum laude, from the Marymount Honors Program. As part of the honors program requirements, he studied the effects of coaches’ leadership styles on player effectiveness for his senior independent study thesis.

During the summer of 2019, Giardina worked as a recruiting coordinator for the Hoop Group, a grassroots basketball company that runs camps, clinics, and tournaments. He managed recruitment and administration of busy camps at East Stroudsburg University in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. He also coached and assisted in player development throughout these events.

Pough joins the staff after a four-year tenure as assistant director of basketball performance at the University of Maryland. There, he worked with the nationally ranked women’s basketball team, overseeing the performance and nutritional regimens of the Terrapins on a daily basis.

He knows the philosophy behind the program Schwartz helped implement in Tennessee, which was started in Texas by Todd Wright (Los Angeles Clippers) and is currently run in Maryland by Kyle Tarp.

Keith is one of the best basketball coaches in the country,” Schwartz said. “His background as an elite student-athlete and professional earned him immediate respect and credibility with our guys. Keith understands what it takes to win at the highest level of college basketball. He knows what we seek to build here and experienced it first hand during his time in Maryland.The foundation of his coaching philosophy is widely used in the NBA.Todd Wright (Los Angeles Clippers) and Todor Pandov (Philadelphia 76ers) are two of most respected professional basketball coaches I have had the opportunity to work with both in my career and it is exciting to see this coaching tree extend to us here at ECU.

While at College Park, which also included a year as a basketball performance intern, Pough helped Maryland win five Big Ten Conference regular season titles, four tournament championships and qualify three times for the NCAA Sweet 16 Tournament (2017, 2021 and 2022).

Pough is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is also a Certified United States Weightlifting Association Level 1 Sports Performance Trainer, Certified Fascial Stretch Therapist, has FMS Level I and Precision Nutrition Level I certifications, and is Certified in Applied Functional Science by the Gray Institute.

As a four-year captain and starting linebacker for the Howard University football team, Pough recorded 350 tackles during his career, set several FCS national records for tackles for loss in a season (29), one game (6) and one career (72.5).

In addition to setting records, Pough was a three-time SBN Sports Black College All-American, three-time Phil Steele Publications Post Season First Team All-American, three-time Walter Camp Football Foundation FCS First Team All-American, three-time MEAC First Team All, 2012 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, MEAC sports 50th Anniversary All Football Team, 88th East West Shrine Bowl Defensive Captain, the 2013 Pat Tillman Character Award recipient and was named to the AP FCS All Team -American three times.

Pough graduated from Howard in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education. There he was an initiate of the founding chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Winsberg most recently served as an assistant coach for Lincoln Trail College’s men’s basketball program during the 2021-22 campaign. He coached league Rookie of the Year Greg Jenkins, helping him with player and character development. From 2019 to 2021, he was the analytics coordinator at UT Arlington, where he worked under head coach Chris Ogden and alongside current Pirates assistant coach Riley Davis.

“Matt embodies what we want our program to represent,” Schwartz said. “He is a tireless worker who always puts the team first. He has established a reputation in this area as a coach with an incredible work ethic. Matt had an immediate impact within our program thanks to the strong relationships he has already built with our players and staff, he has invaluable experiences at different levels and has worked with great coaches at all of his stops.

In 2018-19, Winsberg lived in Israel for 11 months. He was the video coordinator and head scout for professional Premier League club Maccabi Ashdod, under head coach Brad Greenberg, who was previously general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. Previously, he was assistant director of basketball operations at the University of New Orleans under head coach Mark Slessinger.

A native of New Orleans, Winsberg was a former student manager of Louisiana State University’s men’s basketball team during his senior year. Prior to that, Winsberg was an assistant high school coach at Isidore Newman and Christian Life in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, respectively. He graduated from LSU in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in sports administration and again in 2020 with a master’s degree in sports administration. Winsberg has a passion for serving with Special Olympics and has hosted several basketball clinics with St. Michaels, a special education school in New Orleans.