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Steve Hesser cuts down the net after leading the Drury Panthers to a NCAA-II national championship win in 2013.
Photo provided by Drury University
Steve Hesser cuts down the net after leading the Drury Panthers to a NCAA-II national championship win in 2013.

Longtime Drury coach retires

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The all-time coaching leader in career wins for the Drury University Panthers is retiring from the school.

Steve Hesser departs after 17 seasons, leading the team to a 354-145 career record, according to a news release. He's the second-longest serving head men's basketball coach in university history after A.L. Weiser.

"There are many to thank for the incredible journey at Drury University, starting with Dr. Edsel Matthews who gave me the opportunity to be the head coach," Hesser said in the release, referencing the university's former athletics director. "I would also like to thank all of the players and assistant coaches for their contributions in making Drury a high-level basketball program over the last 17 years."

Drury spokesperson Mike Brothers said school officials currently are forming a search committee to find Hesser's successor. Declining to disclose the coach's salary, Brothers said the university does not have a timeline for a new hire.

Hesser has a 213-91 record in conference play, with nine regular season conference titles, three league championships, 10 NCAA-II tournament appearances and two Elite Eight appearances. In the latest season, the Panthers reached the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament title game, according to the release.

In 2013, Hesser and the Panthers won the NCAA-II national championship with a 74-73 win over Metropolitan State University of Denver. That season, he was named National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II National Coach of the Year.

"Coach Hesser has done an excellent job both on and off the court, inspiring student-athletes to do their best," said Drury President Tim Cloyd, in the release. "He's carried forth and built upon Drury's incredible basketball legacy."

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