When Kevin Pederson was in his formative years, he just wanted to be around basketball. He’s parlayed that desire into a pretty solid coaching career and now he’s landed the job he’s, “been looking at for a long time.” Named the seventh head women’s basketball coach at Coastal Carolina on April 12th, Pederson is quickly setting into his new role in Conway.
The former Clemson men’s basketball manager and long suffering Baltimore Orioles fan has been widely sucessful in stints at both Anderson and Lander universities. Pederson’s resume includes 15 trips to the NCAA tournament, two Elite Eight appearances, and one trip to the NCAA D2 “Final Four” in 2021. And while he’s recorded over 400 wins in his coaching career, Pederson concedes that his journey to the “Grand Strand” almost didn’t materialize.
“When I was on the men’s side coming out of college and I was offered a head women’s job at the age of 25, I remember talking with a few men’s coaches and they were like, nope the team’s not very good, I’d be careful about that,” Pederson says in reflecting on his early days in the profession. “And then I remember talking to Jim Davis (former Clemson WBB coach) and Jim Davis says do you know how rare it is for a head job to fall in your lap at 25 years old. I think you’re crazy if you don’t take it.” The Fairfax, Virginia native believes that conversation was one of the biggest influences on the direction of his career.
He’s already lost a few returnees for various reasons, including CCU’s leading scorer Aja Blount who has transferred to Tulane University. Pederson says NIL, the transfer portal, and cost of attendance have, “definitely changed the game.” Adding, “we had six kids in the portal when we got here. You hate to lose kids like that but at the same time, you always want what’s best for the student/athlete.”
Pederson also has a clear appreciation for Dawn Staley and the job she’s done at USC in helping to grow the game in the Palmetto State. “I usually send her a message every year around this time to her and her staff and just say thank you. You’ve got to think bigger than basketball. Her insistance on not only winning at the highest level, winning two national championships, but doing it with the best players in South Carolina. What they’ve done is fantastic.”
SportsTalk had a chance to visit with Pederson in the CCU women’s basketball offices on Tuesday. You can hear our interview with him below, starting with his thoughts about the first few days on the job.
Kevin Pederson — CCU WBB Head Coach