After several stints as an assistant coach for multiple quality collegiate programs, Preston Ingram is getting his first opportunity as a head coach at Missouri Baptist University.
“It is a blessing and very humbling to be named the next head coach at Missouri Baptist,” Ingram said. “There are so many of us in the world who are striving to get their first head coaching job, you just have to make sure to not take it for granted when you get it. … This means everything to me. This is all God’s doing. I am extremely ecstatic to have this opportunity.”
Ingram takes over the Spartans program following the departure of Matt Brock, who was named head coach at the University of Illinois-Springfield in April. Missouri Baptist is coming off its best season to date — a 28-5 overall record that was rewarded with an American Midwest Conference (AMC) regular-season title and a trip to the NAIA Division I National Tournament.
“Coach Brock did a tremendous job building the program up,” Ingram said. “The year they had last year, I am walking into a phenomenal situation and I couldn’t be more thankful. The foundation has been laid. It is proven you can have consistent success. I am ready to continue building this program up the right way.”
Ingram’s 14-year coaching resume at the collegiate level includes assistant positions at NAIA’s Evangel (Mo.), under Hall of Fame coach Steve Jenkins, and Avila (Mo.), under Rodney Perry, prior to being named an assistant at NCAA Division II Pittsburg State under former head coach Kevin Muff for four seasons. After leaving Pittsburg State, Ingram spent a year as an assistant at Angelo State under coach Cinco Boone.
“I feel like I have been the most-blessed assistant in America,” Ingram said. “Starting off with Steve Jenkins, an NAIA Hall of Famer, he is one of the best men in the business. He is a man of faith and taught me a lot about staying holy and humble. I look at Rodney Perry as my mentor, and he is the best-kept secret in coaching as far as I am concerned. He is the best Xs and Os guy, and he taught me how to stay on my toes in terms of in-game adjustments.
“I don’t know if you can be around a better man than Coach Muff. He is a fantastic guy and is a resource that helps me out a ton. He allowed me to take my thoughts and theories and apply them on the floor. That was instrumental. I learned a lot from Coach Boone. He is a strong recruiter and he gets things done. He helped me expand in ways I had not imagined.
“I have had so many different coaches that brought something to me in so many different ways, and what’s great is, I know I can call them at any time and they will be there for me as a resource to help me grow as a coach.”
On top of his work in college basketball, Ingram has spent several years plugged into the high school level as well, taking prominent coaching and recruiting roles on the AAU circuit that include recent stops at the IMG Academy in Florida, and the Combine Academy in North Carolina.
Ingram feels having experience both collegiately and with AAU gives him a unique perspective when it comes to coaching.
“I was able to get a lot of valuable resources (being involved at the prep level) in terms of recruiting and coaching players,” Ingram said. “The entire coaching circle I am a part of has been crazy, but it has also been very beneficial. I can see things through so many different avenues that I wouldn’t have been able to without all of my experiences.”