ORONO – Head Coach Richard Barron officially announced four staff additions on Tuesday, as Jason Steadman, Michael Strickland, Kyle Drennan, and Lance Richardson join the Black Bears’ coaching staff.
“I am very pleased to introduce our new staff members,” Barron stated. “All four will represent Maine with class and each brings great experience and energy to their position.”
Jason “Jai” Steadman comes to Maine from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley where he served as the men’s basketball team’s interim head coach for the 2020-21 season after serving as the team’s assistant coach since 2014. Steadman’s resumé is thorough, as he spent three seasons with the Houston Rockets’ NBA G-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, from 2009-12 and also served as an assistant coach for the 2010 NBA D-League All-Star Game, and the NBA D-League Select team during the 2010 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Steadman has previous head coaching experience with Rander Cimbria in Denmark, where he led the team to their first playoff appearance in 2003-04. He also spent the 2013-14 season as the head coach at Westwind Preparatory Academy in Phoenix, Ariz. before returning to Rio Grande Valley.
Barron commented, “Jai came very highly recommended and has extensive experience working at the college and professional levels, he’ll work primarily with our post players and our team’s defense.”
Michael Strickland arrives in Orono from Tuskegee University where he served as an assistant coach for a pair of seasons after working at The Citadel as their director of basketball operations for a season. His coaching career has also led him to stops at Roanoke College, Gonzaga High School, and Benedictine College Prep where he got his start as a coach in 2010.
Asked about Strickland, Barron said ” Michael comes from a basketball family and has experience coaching at multiple levels of basketball having worked with elite prep schools, small colleges and Division I Universities. Michael has great energy and will work primarily with our point and combo guards.”
Kyle Drennan joins Coach Barron’s staff from the University of Illinois – Chicago where he served as the director of operations a season ago. Drennen previously served as the head coach at McCook Community College for a season, guiding the men’s team to their first home playoff game in 13 years, first playoff win in 20 years, and the team GPA climb above a 3.0 for the first time in 12 years. He started his career in marketing with the Fenway Sports Group and the Salem Red Sox, a minor league baseball affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and has made basketball stops with JUCO Advocate, McNeese State, Labette Community College, and the Texas Top 100.
“Kyle has head coaching experience at the JUCO level and has served on two Division I staffs,” Barron said, “he brings a defensive mind and an entrepreneurial spirit to the position and will work primarily with our wings.”
Rounding out the staff is Lance Richardson, who will serve as the Black Bears’ Director of Quality Control and Operations. Richardson comes to Maine with a 20-year coaching resume that stretches from high school to Division I, with his most recent stop being at Verrado High School in Arizona where he served as the program’s head coach. His journey has also included assistant coaching stops with Oregon State, Union University, and his alma mater Samford University.
“I am thrilled to have someone of Lance’s experience join our staff,” said Barron. “Lance has been a head coach at the college and high school levels and was a successful assistant at Oregon State, Union, and Samford, and his passion for offense and organization will be a tremendous asset to our program.”
The four join Head Coach Richard Barron‘s coaching staff, as the Black Bears return to the hardwood this fall hunting for the program’s first America East championship.