COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Charles Newton believes he still has a lot to accomplish at Tennessee Tech.
The only difference is that now Newton, a senior on the Golden Eagle basketball team last year, is trading his jersey for a suit.
Tech head men’s basketball coach Steve Payne recently announced Newton’s hiring as the program’s Director of Basketball Operations, bringing him back to his alma mater less than one year removed from his playing career.
“We’re excited to have Newt back,” Payne said. “He was a terrific representative of our program as a player, and he has a really bright future ahead of him in coaching. As smart as he is about basketball, he is that much better of a person, and anytime you can keep someone like that on campus and around your program, it’s a good thing.”
Newton, a native of Lexington, Ky., played two seasons for the Golden Eagles before graduating from Tech this past spring.
He saw action in 15 games as a senior and averaged 2.3 points per outing, shooting 68.8 percent from the field — the highest field-goal percentage of any Golden Eagle. He converted three-pointers at a 55.6 percent clip, going 5-for-9 from long range.
His team-high 23 points led Tech to a 106-44 win over Crowley’s Ridge on Dec. 30, 2010.
During his tenure with the Golden Eagles, Newton was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court for his strong academics, and received the team’s John P. Hendrix Leadership Award.
He also participated in a Reach USA foreign ministries program in which he traveled to China to play basketball with other players from the Lexington area.
In high school, Newton led Lexington Catholic in steals and assists and was team captain.
“This is a huge privilege and I’m really humbled by this opportunity coach Payne has given me,” Newton said. “I’m a huge believer in coach Payne. I love Tennessee Tech, love Cookeville, and I still have business to attend to here.”
Newton said he is excited to return to a squad with which he is already intimately familiar.
“They’re a great group of guys,” he said. “We started something my freshman year here, changing the program, and I’m glad to be able to watch the guys I came in with play their senior years and graduate this year.”
Newton comes from a rich family background in coaching and athletic administration — his grandfather, C.M. Newton played at Kentucky and served as head basketball coach at Alabama and Vanderbilt. He later became athletic director at Kentucky, where he hired Rick Pitino to lead the basketball program. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Newton’s father, Martin Newton, served as the Director of Basketball Operations at Kentucky and is now the athletic director at Samford.