The Little Rock Trojans took very little time deciding on a new head coach. Wes Flanigan is expected to be announced as the Trojan’s next head coach later today.
Flanigan served as associate head coach under Chris Beard this basketball season and was thought to be the candidate as soon as rumors began to swirl about Beard’s departure. Beard officially announced this Monday that he would accept the position at UNLV and we received confirmation from the Trojans that a coach had been hired late yesterday afternoon.
Flanigan has strong roots in Little Rock along with a solid basketball foundation. The Little Rock native’s father, Al Flanigan, is a long time coach at Little Rock Parkview and has won numerous state championships with the team. Wes Flanigan attended college at Auburn where he was an All-SEC point guard for the Tigers
To begin his coaching career, Flanigan was an assistant at Little Rock under Steve Shields from 2004-2008. He later served as an assistant at UAB, Nebraska, and Mississippi State before returning to the Trojans as an associate head coach this past season.
Support began to build for Flanigan immediately around the program upon Beard’s departure. Flanigan has strong recruiting ties around the state, frequently drawing top Arkansas prospects to previous positions at Mississippi State and other schools he served. Several current students have expressed support for Flanigan in the process as well before the announcement. Flanigan will likely be able to retain most of the recruiting class as well as the current roster.
It is very likely that Trojan athletic director Chasse Conque had already decided on Flanigan as the probable replacement should Beard decide to leave well before the end of the decision. With the Beard hire Conque had just assumed the office and used an agency to identify a number of candidates, including Beard, for the final selection. With this coaching hire, Conque has had the opportunity to study and observe Flanigan’s coaching style, recruitment strategies, and player interaction throughout the season.
With the quick decision by the athletic department on the hire, Flanigan has a little breathing room to move offices and work with current players during the transition period. The basketball signing period begins on April 13th and ends on May 18th. Familiarity with the prospects and existing relationships should make for a strong recruiting season for the Trojans.