Phil Beckner officially hired as Boise State men’s basketball assistant

Former Nebraska men’s basketball assistant coach Phil Beckner has officially joined the Boise State staff.
Former Nebraska men’s basketball assistant coach Phil Beckner has officially joined the Boise State staff.

The Boise State men’s basketball team officially hired Phil Beckner as an assistant coach Wednesday after spending last season on the staff at Nebraska.

On Sunday night, the Lincoln Journal Star reported Beckner was leaving, but the hiring wasn’t made official until the standard background check was completed. At Boise State, Beckner will be in charge of the defense. He spent seven seasons on the staff at Weber State, and in his final season, 2013-14, the Wildcats led the Big Sky in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, 3-point defense and rebounding margin. They were No. 2 in the nation in 3-point defense in 2012-13.

“I’m thoroughly excited to be a part of Boise State University and the men’s basketball program,” Beckner said in a statement. “It’s a great program out west that has had a lot of success under Leon Rice with tournament appearances and 20-win seasons. The opportunity to work with Coach Rice and the rest of the staff is really exciting and intriguing to me. I look forward to being able to help continue to build what they’ve started.

“Boise State has done a good job of recruiting high-character, talented kids who fit their system. I remember watching some of them play in high school and am really excited about working with them. Guys like Paris Austin, Alex Hobbs and Nick Duncan have already reached out to me. It’s great knowing I’m coming into an environment with a good nucleus of young kids and experienced veterans who have seen a high level of success and are hungry for more. I look forward to the opportunity to help make them better people and better players.”

In Beckner’s first season at Weber State (2007-08), when he served as the director of basketball operations, he worked alongside Boise State associate head coach Jeff Linder, then an assistant with the Wildcats. Beckner also oversaw Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard’s entire college career. On Nebraska’s website, Lillard said “I would not have made the changes I made as far as maturity goes nor would I be in the NBA if I hadn’t met Phil... And that’s real.”

“Phil is a great addition to our staff,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “He’s a diligent recruiter and an outstanding basketball coach with experience beyond his years. Phil is committed to and very skilled at player development. He’ll be a terrific fit with our staff and our beliefs.”