GREENWOOD – Kevin Pederson announced Tuesday that he is stepping down to take the head coaching position at Division I Coastal Carolina. Pederson leaves Lander as the winningest coach in program history and the longest-tenured coach.
Coach Pederson came to Lander in 2005 from Anderson University. Within three years, he had Lander in the NCAA Tournament, where they advanced to the second round for the first time in school history in 2008. That started a run of five straight NCAA appearances for the Bearcats, with the team making the Sweet Sixteen twice and the Elite Eight for the first time in 2011-12.
In the 2010-11 season, he guided the Bearcats to a school-record 29 wins, and the team spent four weeks as the number one team in the USA/ESPN Division II Coaches Top 25. Lander returned to the NCAA postseason in 2014-15, starting the Bearcat’s current streak of eight-straight appearances.
The 2019-20 season saw the Bearcats sweep the Peach Belt regular season and tournament championships while posting a 26-5 record and defeating Clemson in a preseason scrimmage. Lander was set to host the Southeast Regional and was the top seed before the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
In 2020-21 Lander completed the best season in program history. The Bearcats finished with the program’s first unbeaten regular season. Lander won the program’s second region championship, advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the first time, and finished with a final ranking of No. 3, the highest in program history. On February 17, 2021, Lander defeated Flagler 90-58 to give Coach Pederson his 207 career PBC victory, making him the conference’s winningest coach.
In his 17 years at Lander, Pederson finishes with a 356-160 overall record and 225-97 in conference. He has coached the 2010-11 National Player of the Year, four All-Americans, 36 All-Conference players, seven conference Players of the Year, three Defensive Players of the Year, and two Freshmen of the Year. He has been named Coach of the Year twice while leading the Bearcats to six regular-season conference championships, four tournament championships, four NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances, two Elite Eight appearances, and one Final Four appearance.
“We are truly excited for Kevin, Adair, Connor, and Clary as they move onto Coastal Carolina, Lander Athletic Director Brian Reese said. “It is an excellent and very well-deserved opportunity and an opportunity that we know, Kevin will have great success with. What he has done at Lander is absolutely amazing. Not only has Kevin made Lander a Peach Belt Conference powerhouse, but he has also built a powerhouse national program. Kevin’s teams not only performed on the court, but they crushed it in the classroom, the Lander community, and in the city of Greenwood.”
A national search for the next head coach will begin immediately.