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Conference News - Tue, Jun. 27, 2017

Matt Cross was named head coach of the Louisiana State University-Shreveport women's basketball team June 9.

LaVonte Young, Daily Home sports editor, [email protected]  Jun 21, 2017  (0)
 

In accepting his new position, Cross decided to leave a Talladega College men's basketball program he had turned into a perennial powerhouse in the NAIA over the last five seasons. The Shreveport native said he felt it was time to go back home and take care of his family.

"The decision to move on was a family decision," Cross said. "Coaching in my hometown is very exciting because I get to see my family every day and reunite with so many friends.

"Shreveport/Bossier, Louisiana, really is an awesome place to live. I also get to work alongside my best friend since we were 7 years old, Kyle Blankenship, who is the LSUS men's coach. … 

"Returning to the state where I first got my coaching start as head junior high coach and assistant varsity boys coach at Christian Life Academy in Baton Rouge is something I always had planned to do."

Cross takes over an LSUS program that went 22-10 last season and made the NAIA tournament.

For Cross, the decision to leave Talladega College was difficult, but he knew it was one he had to make.

"This was the toughest decision I was ever faced with in my life; it was a decision where I needed to be back home with my family in Shreveport right now," he said. "I try not to think about it because my heart is still there with (TC President) Dr. (Billy C.) Hawkins in Talladega"

Cross is the all-time winningest coach in TC history.

In his two stints at TC, Cross has a record of 177-56, which includes a USCAA championship during the 2008-09 season. Cross left the next season, then returned to Tornado Alley in 2012. Over the last five seasons, he compiled a record of 152-49.

Last season, TC finished 22-11, and Cross led the Tornadoes to the NAIA Sweet 16.

In 2015, Cross led the Tornadoes to a record-breaking season in which they won 32 games. TC won the Gulf Coast Atlantic Conference regular-season and tournament championships. The Tornadoes reached the NAIA semifinals in Kansas City before falling, a feat that had not been accomplished by a Historically Black College or University in more than 30 years.