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Men's Basketball

UTSA Names Austin Claunch Head Men’s Basketball Coach

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SAN ANTONIO – UTSA Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lisa Campos on Sunday announced Austin Claunch as the seventh head coach of the Roadrunners’ men’s basketball program. Claunch, who calls Houston his hometown and currently serves as an assistant coach at national power Alabama, led Nicholls to a pair of Southland Conference titles as head coach.  

“I am extremely excited to welcome Austin Claunch as our next head men’s basketball coach,” Campos said. “He had great success as the head coach at Nicholls and has gained valuable experience at some of the top programs in the country. He has high energy, a relentless work ethic and a strong basketball IQ. What really stood out to me is that when we talked to people about Austin, what kept coming up time and again was his unique ability to connect with people from all backgrounds and build great relationships. He is completely aligned with my vision and our values as a department and an institution. He will be a terrific leader of our student-athletes and I am confident he will elevate our program to new heights.”

In his lone season with Alabama, Claunch has helped the Crimson Tide to a 21-11 record and an Associated Press Top-25 national ranking. Alabama currently sits at No. 9 in the latest NCAA NET rankings.

"This is genuinely a dream come true being from Texas and growing up in this state,” Claunch said. “I take a lot of pride in being a Texan and knowing the passion of the community as a whole. The potential of the UTSA program really excites me. I think we can be really good for a long time, but I don't think it will take a long time to be really good. I want to thank Dr. Eighmy, Dr. Campos and the whole administration for this opportunity. I am ready to get to work."

In five seasons as the head coach at Nicholls, Claunch won 90 games, recorded a pair of 20-win seasons and directed the Colonels to Southland Conference regular-season championships in 2021 and 2022. He was the 2020-21 Southland Conference Coach of the Year. Claunch served as the youngest head coach at the NCAA Division I level for three seasons (2018-21) and was named to ESPN’s 40 under 40 list for collegiate men’s basketball coaches in 2020.

In Claunch’s second year as the Nicholls head coach, he took a team that was projected to finish 11th in the Southland Conference and secured 21 wins, marking just the fourth 20-win season in program history at the time. That season included a win against Atlantic Coast Conference foe Pittsburgh.

In 2020-21, Claunch led his team to the outright Southland Conference crown with a 14-2 league tally. He coached three All-Southland honorees that season, including first-team selection and Newcomer of the Year Ty Gordon. A year later, he directed his squad to its second consecutive Southland Conference regular-season title and the program’s first-ever appearance in the National Invitation Tournament. Despite losing nearly 70 percent of the team’s scoring from the year prior, Claunch’s Colonels notched a 21-win season. In 2022, Gordon became just the second player in school history to be named Southland Conference Player of the Year.

Prior to taking over the head coaching position at Nicholls, Claunch spent two years as an assistant coach for the Colonels under current South Alabama head coach Richie Riley. He worked closely with Riley on offensive and defensive schemes and game plans and coordinated all basketball camps. Claunch was part of an historic 2017-18 campaign that included the most wins (21) since 1995 and the best Southland Conference record (15-3) since 1998. Among the players he worked with daily were guards Roddy Peters (SLC Newcomer of the Year, First Team SLC), Jahvaughn Powell (All-SLC Defensive Team), Lafayette Rutledge (Single-season three-point record holder) and Tevon Saddler (All-SLC Second Team).

Claunch spent three seasons at Clemson, two as a graduate manager and one as an assistant coach, where he primarily coordinated video services for the Tigers. Prior to joining Clemson, he spent the 2012-13 season as Director of Player Development at George Mason.

Claunch was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and raised in Houston, Texas. He played high school basketball at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory as a three-year starter and a two-time team captain. Claunch was a two-time recipient of Strake’s Kenneth McGregor Award, based on his leadership and dedication on and off the court.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in religion from Emory in 2012. Claunch earned a master’s degree in human resource development from Clemson in August 2015.

Claunch was a four-year starter and two-time captain at NCAA Division III member Emory University from 2008-12. He ranks first in Emory history in career assists (580), assists per game (5.8) and minutes played (3,132). He was a three-time All-Conference First Team honoree at Emory and a member of the University Athletic Association’s 25th Anniversary Team.


Hometown: Houston, Texas
Education: Emory, 2012; Clemson, 2015

Coaching Experience

2023-Present: Assistant Coach, Alabama
2018-23: Head Coach, Nicholls
2016-18: Assistant Coach, Nicholls
2015-16: Assistant Coach, Clemson
2013-15: Graduate Manager, Clemson
2012-13: Director of Player Development, George Mason

Playing Experience

2008-12: Emory




Southland Conference



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“Austin is one of the hardest working guys in the business. His work as a head coach at Nicholls was unbelievable with one of the lowest budgets in the country. He won two championships in his last three years in the Southland, and that is a credit to his hard work and energy.”

Nate Oats, Alabama Head Coach

“People enjoy being around Austin. He’s a fun guy. He’s also very bright and knows how to get his message across if there’s work to be done. He can handle his business, but he’s also one of those guys that relates to people and enjoys people.”

Brad Brownell, Clemson Head Coach

“He’s a fantastic X’s and O’s coach on the court and very innovative with what he does. What makes him special to me is his ability to form relationships. He’s the guy all the guys gravitate towards all the time. It doesn’t matter where they come from or their backgrounds.”

Richie Riley, South Alabama Head Coach

“Austin has the confidence and courage to be successful at any level of coaching. He’s got great energy and he’s very knowledgeable of the game. The only word I can use – he’s kind of fearless. When he came to work for me at George Mason, he treated the players with respect, but they also respected him because he was a guy that didn’t back down.”

Paul Hewitt, Former George Mason/Georgia Tech Head Coach

“Austin had it in his mind to go into coaching before he came to Emory. He talked about coaching when he got out of school. Austin wanted to compete. He’s a competitor.”

Jason Zimmerman, Emory Head Coach