JAMON COPELAND | HEAD COACH
Jamon Copeland has earned 117 career wins entering his fifth season as the head coach of the UT Tyler men's basketball program.
Since arriving in Tyler, Copeland has helped the Patriots set new marks including the ASC East Division's third seed in the 2017 Championship Tournament. He has led the Patriots to the program's first postseason victory, its first victory over a nationally ranked opponent, the second and fourth most wins in a season in school history, while also finishing with the most wins in a season for a first year head coach. He led the Patriots to a 15-11 record in the 2016-17 season and to a 10-3 mark at home. Copeland also served as the Interim Director of Compliance in 2017 for the UT Tyler Athletic Department.
Led by Copeland, Jordan Francis was named the ASC East Division's Newcomer of the Year and to the ASC East First-Team in 2016-17. Melvin Anthony, Emeka Obuwelu, Josh Tatum and Skyler Hadden were also honored by the conference for helping the Patriots return to the postseason.
In his first season with the Patriots, Copeland helped the Patriots set new marks, leading the Patriots to the ASC semifinals for the first time in school history. In addition, the Patriots won the second-most games in program history (15), while Copeland finished with the most wins in a season for a first year head coach. UT Tyler had two All-ASC performers, seniors Bryce Kemp and Travis Dykman, who were named Second and Third Team respectively.
The 2015-16 season the Patriots went 13-12, earning the fourth most wins in school history, including going 8-3 on their home court and earning the programs first win over a nationally ranked opponent. Anthony Gonzales earned ASC East Division second-team honors and Demarcus Metcalf earned an honorable mention selection.
Copeland, a Coppell, Texas native, came to UT Tyler from Ave Maria University in Florida where he served as the head coach since 2009. During his four years at the helm of the program, Copeland increased the program’s wins in a season every year, going from 14 to 23. His teams were ranked in the NAIA Top 25 on numerous occasions, reaching as high as number 14 in the country.
Prior to moving to Florida, Copeland served as the assistant men’s coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas State University in San Marcos. Copeland helped sign three McDonald’s All-American candidates, four players ranked in the Top 40 in the state of Texas, and helped the Bobcats improve their win totals in each of his three seasons. While at Texas State, Copeland was responsible for recruiting, scouting opponents, individual player development, scheduling, academic advising, strength and conditioning and many other areas.
During the 2005-06 season, Copeland was the assistant men's and women’s coach at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas where he helped lead the Lady Cardinals to a Region XIV Championship and a NJCAA National Tournament appearance.
Copeland began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Keller Central High School.
He is a 2004 graduate of Franciscan University and holds a Master of Science from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Additionally, Copeland is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is also a CrossFit Level I Trainer.
He is also a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.
Copeland and his wife Jessica reside in Tyler and have four young boys, Corban, Blaise, Asher, and Judah.
JAKE DEER | ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH
Jake Deer is entering his fourth season as the UT Tyler Associate Head Men's Basketball Coach. Deer came to UT Tyler from Francis Marion University where he served in the same position during the 2013-14 season.
While the assistant at Francis Marion, Deer had numerous responsibilities, including design and implementation of player development, in-game coaching, game-day promotion and helping to promote and run the team's basketball camps.
During the 2013-14 season, the Patriots averaged 76 points per game, shot 36-percent from beyond the three-point arc, and posted an 8-3 home record.
Previous to his time in South Carolina, Deer served as the head coach at Johnson University of Florida from 2007 to 2013, garnering NCCAA Div. II South Region Coach of the Year honors in 2013.
Deer led the Suns to the 2013 NCCAA Final Four, helped set a new school record for wins in-a-season with 26 in 2013, obtained the team's highest national ranking (#2) in 2012, graduated 90-percent of his players who completed four years of eligibility, and won the South Region Regular Season Championship in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Deer also served as Johnson University's Executive Director of Admissions from 2008 to 2011, helping Johnson's enrollment increase by 65-percent in three years.
Deer obtained his Bachelor of Science in Christian Leadership from Florida Christian College in 2004, and completed his Masters in College Athletic Administration from Coker College in the spring of 2015.
DAVE NEDBALEK | ASSISTANT COACH
Dave Nedbalek is entering his second season as a UT Tyler men’s basketball assistant coach under head coach Jamon Copeland and associate head coach Jake Deer.
Nedbalek helped lead the Patriots to a 15-win season and the third seed out of the American Southwest Conference East Division in the 2016-17 season where five players earned all-conference honors. His role with the Patriots includes video coordinator, high school recruiting coordinator, social media for the team’s accounts and guard development.
A San Antonio native, Nedbalek joined the UT Tyler coaching staff after serving as the head basketball coach and athletic director at King’s Academy Christian School. He helped guide King’s Academy to five district championships, four regional championships, to three state quarterfinals and to the 2012 state finals where the team finished as runner-ups. He completed his stay at the program having amassed an impressive 94-36 record.
Nedbalek graduated from Tyler’s Robert E. Lee High School and played one season at Ouachita Baptist in 2009 before taking the job at King’s Academy. He is currently pursing a bachelor’s degree online in Sports Psychology from Arizona State University.
“My initial draw to UT Tyler was the elite worth ethic of both Coach Copeland, and Coach Deer,” Nedbalek said. “l will supplement that by being relentless in my preparation, and execution of my various roles within our program. My passion for coaching stems from a desire to see men be impacted through sport for life; becoming men of character, moral integrity, and dependability. The University of Texas at Tyler is an incredible institution and I am honored to be able to continue helping grow this school’s great reputation, as well as the Patriot Men’s Basketball brand.”
Nedbalek is married to Nikki Nedbalek who is a RN First Assist at the Louis and Peaches Heart Hospital.