Assistant coach Ernie Nestor will be in his second year at Navy in 2013-14 after spending parts of five decades coaching basketball. A fantastic basketball mind, Nestor has 44 years of coaching experience under his belt.
Last year, the Midshipmen improved by five wins from the previous season, ranking as the ninth-best single-season improvement in school history. Nestor played a vital role in game-planning and was instrumental in the development of Navy's youngsters as the freshman class set the school record for percentage of points scored by a freshman class in a season.
Tilman Dunbar was named to the Patriot League all-Rookie Team and Navy showed glimpshes of its potential with a lineup that featured no seniors on the roster. Navy would start two freshmen, two sophomores and one junior for a majority of the season and the Navy defense ranked 42nd nationally and second in the Patriot League in scoring defense, recording the third-lowest defensive scoring average in school history.
Coaching the big men, Nestor saw remarkable improvement over the course of the season from now-sophomore Will Kelly, who showed marked development from November to March. Nestor is hoping for more of the same in 2013-14.
Nestor came to Navy after spending the 2011-12 season at Missouri as an assistant coach. The Tigers went 30-5, won the Big 12 Championship and were ranked in the nation's top five for the majority of the season. He was credited in the development of Mizzou big man Ricardo Ratliffe, who showed drastic improvement from 2010-11 to 2011-12, when he led the country in field goal percentage (.693) and averaged 13.9 ppg and 7.5 rpg while earning all-Big 12 second-team honors. In addition, guard Kim English spoke highly of Coach Nestor and the work the duo accomplished during the year. English averaged 14.5 points per game and shot a blistering 45.9 percent from three-point range.
Nestor arrived at Mizzou after one season as the Director of Basketball Operations at Penn State University under DeChellis. The Nittany Lions were one of the country's most improved teams in 2010-11, going 19-15 and earning an at-large spot in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Nestor's coaching experience began in 1970-71 with a six-year stint as a high school head coach, but continued with stops at James Madison (1977-79), Wake Forrest (1980-85), California (1986-88), George Mason (1989-93), a return trip to Wake Forest (1994-01), South Carolina (2002-03), Elon (2004-2009), the New Jersey Nets (2010) and Penn State (2011).
Nestor is no stranger to player development and bench strategy at the major college level. He has spent time in the Pac-10, ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 conferences as an assistant during his four-decade collegiate coaching career and spent time on Dave Odom's staff at Wake Forest. He has also twice been a Division I head coach during his career, with stints at both Elon College and George Mason. During his career, he has helped recruit and develop Tim Duncan, Josh Howard and Darius Songaila into NBA stars.
Nestor's five seasons at George Mason and six years at Elon were as the program's head coach. He led George Mason to its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 1989 and topped the 20-win mark each of his first two seasons while reaching the CAA Tournament finals in 1991. He returned to Wake Forest in 1993 and helped the Demon Deacons to ACC Championships in 1995 and 1996 while the 1996 club advanced to the NCAA regional final, where it fell to the eventual NCAA National Champion, Kentucky. The 2000 Wake Forest team was the NIT Champion.
Nestor returned to the head coaching ranks at Elon College in 2003 and he directed the school's first winning season as a Division I program in 2006. The Phoenix won 15 games (15-14 overall), including a 74-69 win at Clemson. The team also claimed the Southern Conference's North Division crown and Nestor was named the SoCon Coach of the Year by both the league's coaches and media. His 2008 Elon team advanced to the Southern Conference Tournament final, where it was defeated by a Davidson squad led by Steph Curry that reached the NCAA Elite Eight.
During his collegiate coaching career, he has been a part of 11 teams that reached NCAA Tournament play and eight more that advanced to the NIT.
Nestor is a 1968 graduate of Alderson-Broaddus College (W. Va.) and he earned his graduate degree from West Virginia in 1970. He and his wife, Janet, have two children, Stephanie and Jennifer. They also have four grandchildren, Kodiak, Lucy, Clio and Jude.