Virginia Union University has announced the five finalists for the head men's basketball coaching position. The five finalists are (in alphabetical order) Lester "Jay" Butler, Vance Harmon, Richard Morgan, Anthony Peeler and Tony Shields.
LESTER "JAY" BUTLER
Butler has spent the past nine seasons as head coach of the women's basketball team at the University of the District of Columbia. During his nine seasons, Butler has amassed 131 wins, two Independent Collegiate Athletic Association (ICAA) national championships, two ICAA Coach of the Year awards and two NCAA Tournament appearances. He enjoyed two of his finest seasons in 2007-08 and 2008-09 when the Firebirds were a combined 45-13, including a school-record 24 wins and a No. 17 national ranking in the latter year, as they went on to win two straight ICAA Division II National Championships. The team also won a school-record 19 straight games at home, starting with the final six home games in 2007-08 and ending with a perfect 13-0 home record in 2008-09.
The team finished the 2010-11 campaign with a record of 19-9 and finished the season by celebrating "Senior Day" with an 84-60 trumping of the Urbana University Blue Knights for third place in the 2011 Independent Invitational Women's Basketball Classic, and Butler earned his 100th career coaching victory.
Prior to becoming head coach at UDC, he served as an assistant coach for two seasons. He was responsible for travel, scouting, working with the guards, pre-season conditioning, academic coordinating, and various other duties. He also served as the recruiting coordinator and signed four Junior College All-Americans, a 2nd Team All-ICAA selection, and a 1,000-point career scorer in his short stint as assistant at UDC.
A 1998 graduate of Virginia Union University with a degree in criminal justice, Butler played for legendary coach Dave Robbins, and was a key member of the Panther basketball program. He helped Virginia Union capture three straight CIAA championships and make four NCAA Division II appearances. In 1996, Butler's senior season, he guided the team to the NCAA Division II Final Four. Butler finished his career at Virginia Union tied for the most wins with a (107-14) won-loss record. Butler served as team captain from (1994-1996).
A native of Washington D.C., Butler graduated from Archbishop Carroll High in 1992 where he earned All-Metro honors and Honorable Mention All-American.
Vance Harmon has been coach at Henrico High School, located just outside the Richmond County line, for the past 10 years. During that time he compiles a 212-65 record which included six trips to the Virginia High School quarterfinals.
Prior to taking over at Henrico, Harmon was assistant coach and then head coach at J.R. Tucker High School from 1995 to 2003. He teams have six Capital District Championships to their credit.
An alumnus of Virginia Union, Harmon was a standout performer at Douglas Freeman High School before matriculating to VUU.
Head Coach, Henrico High School, 2004-present 212-65 record (77%)
Head Coach, J.R. Tucker High School, 2002-2003 17-27 record (39%)
Assistant Coach, J.R. Tucker High School, 1995-2001
REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIPS AND POSTSEASON APPEARANCES
VHSL State Finals---2013 (Head Coach)
VHSL State Semi-finals---2012, 2013 (Head Coach)
VHSL State Quarterfinals---2005, 2012, 2013 (Head Coach)
Central Region Finals---2005, 2012, 2013 (Head Coach)
Central Region Semi-Finals---2005, 2009, 2012, 2013 (Head Coach)
Central Region Quarterfinals---2005 thru 2013 (Head Coach)
1998 (Assistant Coach)
Central Region Tournament---2004 thru 2013 (Head Coach)
1998 and 1999 (Assistant Coach)
Capital District Tournament Champions---2004, 2012, 2013 (Head Coach)
Capital District Tournament Finals---2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 (Head Coach)
Capital District Regular Season Champions---2005, 2012, 2013 (Head Coach)
Colonial District Tournament Finals---1998 (Assistant Coach)
Born December 30, 1970, Richmond, VA.
High School Douglas S. Freeman, 1990
College Virginia Union University, 1994
Family Wife - Christy Daughters -Virginia-Anne (8) and Margaret (3)
B.A., History/Political Science, Virginia Union University, 1994
Richard Morgan brought more than a decade of NCAA coaching experience to the Bluefield College men's basketball program upon his hire in 2009. Beyond his coaching experience, Morgan was a decorated collegiate player at the University of Virginia and a standout athlete at Salem High School - making his Virginian roots run even deeper.
The Rams posted a 17-16 record during Morgan's first year at the helm of the program. Bluefield went 11-5 in Appalachian Athletic Conference play to grab a share of the regular season title. Morgan's guidance helped senior Omar Reed earn AAC Defensive Player of the Year, AAC Player of the Year and NAIA Third Team All-America honors.
In each of his first three seasons, Morgan led the Rams to postseason play, both in the AAC and the National Christian College Athletic Association's Mid-East Region.
The Rams transitioned to the highly competitive Mid-South Conference for the 2012-13 season and concluded the year with eight wins. However, Bluefield dropped five games by five points or less, including a pair of overtime games. In the Rams' first-ever MSC game, they knocked off No. 3 ranked Georgetown College, 96-89.
Morgan joined the Bluefield athletics family after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. He helped the Mountaineers to a school record 25 wins and a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) appearance in 2007, in addition to back-to-back Southern Conference (SoCon) regular season championships (2006-07, 2007-08).
Before his time with Appalachian State, Morgan served as an associate head coach at Hampton University for three years. Morgan helped the Pirates to consistently strong seasons in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championships (MEAC), including a MEAC Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006. This was Morgan's second stint with Hampton, as he served as an assistant from 1996-98.
Prior to his Hampton return, Morgan spent five seasons (1999-2003) as an assistant at East Carolina University.
Morgan pursued coaching after a successful career as a professional and collegiate player. As a three-year starter at Virginia, Morgan finished his career ranked sixth all-time in scoring with 1,540 points. He also ranked third at UVa in steals (160) and seventh in assists (279). He earned first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) honors and was named honorable mention All-America by The Sporting News after leading the Cavs to the Elite Eight in 1989. Following his graduation with a sports management degree, Morgan played basketball professionally for two seasons with the Rockford Lightning of the CBA and overseas with teams in Austria and the Philippines.
He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Salem High School, where he helped lead the program to district, regional and state championships. He also served as a paraprofessional for special education programs.
Morgan and his wife, Sherelle, have two sons, Nicholas and Kaleb.
Anthony Peeler has spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach for the Virginia Union University Men's Basketball team.
Peeler was a standout high school player at Paseo High School Kansas City, Missouri and was named to the McDonald's All-American team his senior year.
Peeler chose the University of Missouri and went on to be one of the school's all-time greats.
Peeler averaged 16.8 points per game for his Tiger career and left as Missouri's all-time third leading scorer, with 1,970 points. He is also the school career record holder for both steals and assists. During his career, Peeler was named first-team All-Big Eight, and in 1992 was named the conference AP Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year and a consensus second team All-American.
In 2006, Peeler was named to the Missouri's 30-member All-Century team, in honor of the school's 100th year of competition.
After his college eligibility was up, Peeler was drafted 15th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1992 NBA Draft.
Peeler also played for the Vancouver Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and the Washington Wizards averaging 9.7 points per game throughout his NBA career.
While with Sacramento during the2003-04 season, he led the league in three-point field goal accuracy with 48.2 percent.
Tony Sheals spent last season as the head men's basketball coach at Saint Augustine's University in 2013-14.
He has coached on the high school, collegiate and professional levels for more than 20 years, including Florida State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Towson University and Delaware State University. Prior to coming to St. Augustine's, Sheals spent the last three seasons at Florida A&M University, where he was the Associate Head Men's Basketball Coach. While at Florida A&M, the Rattlers reached the MEAC Tournament semifinals in the 2011-2012 season.
Sheals was head coach at Bethune-Cookman (1994-1997) and Delaware State (2000) during their most successful periods in basketball history. He finished with a conference record of .500 or better each season at Bethune-Cookman, where Sheals was named MEAC Coach of the Year in 1995 as the Wildcats established school marks for best overall regular-season record and conference finish.
Sheals enjoyed success as an assistant coach for several years in the traditionally strong Atlantic Coast Conference, considered one of, if not the best, collegiate basketball conference in the nation. He was Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Miami (2001-2002) and Assistant Men's Basketball Coach at Florida State University (2002-2006).
Sheals was also an assistant coach at Towson State (1997-1999) of the America East Conference where he was primarily responsible for recruiting the No. 1 recruiting class in the league for two consecutive years.
Sheals began his coaching career at Kathleen High School (1984 -1990) in Lakeland, Fla., where he compiled a career record of 156-57. He led his teams to three state tournament finals appearances (1986, 1987, 1989), posting one 31-win season and two 29-win seasons during his tenure. His 1987 team was ranked 18th in the nation by USA Today and Sheals was named Class 4A Coach of the Year by the Central Florida Coaches Association. He was recently inducted into the Lakeland Sports Hall of Fame for his coaching achievements at Kathleen High School.
Sheals holds a B.S. degree in health and physical education from Bethune-Cookman University (1980), where he finished Cum Laude. He and his wife Marian, have two children: a son, Drew, and a daughter, Marissa.