STORRS, Conn. --- UConn men’s basketball head coach Kevin Ollie has announced the addition of Dwayne Killings to the Huskies’ coaching staff as a fulltime assistant coach.
Killings has experience dealing with every level of basketball from AAU ball through the NBA. For the past five years (2011-2016), he has been an assistant coach on the staff of the successful program at Temple University, his second stint with Temple after serving as the Owls’ assistant director of men’s basketball operations from 2006-2009. He will join the UConn staff immediately.
“I am excited to welcome Dwayne Killings to the UConn family,” Ollie said. “I was very impressed with his pedigree, the different walks of life he’s been through. He’s been an assistant coach at Temple, but he’s also worked in the NBA office, and with the Charlotte franchise. All the different knowledge and basketball experience he has is invaluable. I know he will be an outstanding addition to our staff.”
Ollie said that Killings caught his attention while on the recruiting trail.
“I took notice of him when I was on the road recruiting,” the UConn coach said, “because he was always so professional in the way he conducted himself … how he carried himself, not only on the court, but off the court, as I saw him work at the different AAU tournaments. With his recruiting ties across the country, I think he’s going to do a great job for us. And obviously, his knowledge of the conference, being at Temple, is huge.”
Killings, 35, is a native of Amherst, Mass., and played Division I basketball at the University of Massachusetts for two years before transferring to Hampton University and earning a degree in Sports Management (’03).
“Having grown up in New England, UConn is just such a unique and special place, with such a great tradition,” Killings said. “And then, to work for someone like Kevin Ollie, is something that made the opportunity really attractive to me. He’s a young coach who has already accomplished a lot of great things. I thought we had a lot of synergy as we started to talk to each other about where he wants to go with the program and, at the same time, how he wants to try to have his staff be a part of his vision and his future and I got really excited about it. I thought it was an opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone to really be pushed to help this program continue the excellence in everything they do on and off the floor.”
Killings said he felt an immediate kinship with the UConn head coach.
“We’ve had many conversations and he knows a bunch of people I’m really close with and people he is close with have been like mentors to me, so in some ways, we’re connected,” said Killings, who is married to wife Ana and the two are parents to 2-year-old Alecia. “Probably my background speaks to Coach Ollie a little bit because we’ve kind of crossed the same paths --- his career is so unique because he’s had to grind it out for everything he got, especially in NBA. And for me, having not been a heralded basketball player who never scored a meaningful bucket in college, I’ve had to go through it in kind of a different way for my professional career.
“But it was very similar to how he worked and worked and people valued who he was as a person just as much as who he was as a player. During my time at UConn, I hope people value me both as a person as well as a professional.”
During Killings’ last five years at Temple, the Owls posted an overall record of 104-63 (.623) and a combined conference record of 52-30 (.634) in the Atlantic 10 and the American Athletic Conference, and captured a regular-season conference title in each league. In his five years, Temple made four postseason appearances, three in the NCAA Tournament and one trip to the NIT semifinals. The season before he returned to Temple (2010-11), Killings served as an assistant coach at Boston University, and helped the Terriers capture the America East Championship and earn an NCAA Tournament berth.
Prior to his time at BU, Killings was with the NBA D-League, where his responsibilities included monitoring player development programs and providing updates on players’ progress. Before that, Killings had his first stint with Temple.
Killings’ initial job in basketball after earning his college degree was a three-year position with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) as a special assistant, video coordinator, and assisting with player development, including former UConn All-American Emeka Okafor, whom he still counts as a close friend.
“Coach Killings is a role model for our student-athletes,” Ollie said. “He’s a family man and I think that’s important. The way I believe he can communicate with our student-athletes will be important as well. Who he is as a person, that’s going to come to light in everything he does at UConn.”