GREENVILLE, N.C. – Nick Matson, Josh Giardina, Keith Pough and Matthew Winsberg have been hired to the ECU men’s basketball coaching staff, according to an announcement by head coach Mike Schwartz.
Matson and Giardina will serve as the Director of Player Personnel and Director of Player Development, respectively, while Pough and Winsberg have been tabbed as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach and Assistant to the Head Coach.
Matson arrives in Greenville off a three-year stint as an assistant coach at UTEP while Giardina joins ECU after one year as a graduate assistant at Tennessee.
In El Paso, Matson assisted in the rebuilding of a UTEP program which saw continuous improvement over three years. During the 2019-20 campaign the Miners won 17 games, nine more than the previous season and the largest win improvement of any team in Conference-USA; more than doubling their Conference USA win total. UTEP posted its first winning season in four years and made a return to the C-USA Tournament. The Miners finished with a 13-4 record in the Haskins Center – the most home wins in four years.
“Nick is a true professional and is as good a coach as there is in the country,” Schwartz said. “I saw firsthand how impactful he is as a coach and a person during our four years together at Fresno State. Everywhere Nick has been he has helped build successful programs. He understands all aspects of what it takes to create a strong culture. Nick is elite on the floor with player development and has recruited all over the country. His background as a player at VMI and his experiences as a coach, make Nick the total package both on and off the court. We are very lucky to have Nick and his wife Jessica with us here in Greenville.”
At UTEP, Matson aided in the recruitment and development of two of the most successful players in Conference-USA, Bryson Williams and Souley Boum. Both student-athletes were All-Conference USA selections for multiple years.
Matson came to UTEP after seven seasons (2011-18) at Fresno State, most recently as an assistant coach. The Bulldogs logged 20 wins or more in four of the last five seasons, won the Mountain West Conference title in 2016 and made three postseason tournament appearances (2014 CBI, 2016 NCAA, 2017 NIT). From 2015-2018, the Bulldogs were one of the most successful Group of 5 Basketball programs in the country, earning an NCAA Tournament berth in 2016 and an NIT at-large selection in 2017.
Matson played an extensive role in the Bulldogs’ player development and scouting. Fresno State had multiple All-Conference selections, including 2015-16 Mountain West Player of the Year Marvelle Harris. During the 2017-18 season, guard Deshon Taylor garnered first team All-MWC honors after averaging 17.8 points per game. Forward Bryson Williams was a third team All-MWC selection. Sam Bittner and Jahmel Taylor were among the MWC and national leaders in three-point shooting during the 2017-18 season.
Prior to being elevated to assistant coach, Matson spent five years as Director of Basketball Operations and one season as graduate assistant at Fresno State.
Matson spent the 2010-11 season as the graduate assistant at Murray State under head coach Billy Kennedy. The Racers finished 23-9, won the Ohio Valley Conference Championship and fashioned a 14-4 mark in league play. Matson assisted with video, scouting and player development at Murray State, working with All-American guard and future NBA player Isaiah Canaan.
Matson began his career as a coaching intern at Stanford under Johnny Dawkins during the 2009-10 season. He assisted with recruiting administration, team operations and scouting reports.
Matson received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 2009. He was a guard for the Keydets from 2006-08. VMI employed an up-tempo offense that set all-time NCAA records for points per game, steals, and three-pointers made in a season. In 2008-09, Matson served as undergraduate assistant coach, one of the most successful seasons in VMI history. The Keydets finished 24-8, including an upset victory over Kentucky at Rupp Arena. The Keydets advanced to the 2007 and 2009 Big South Conference Championship games.
Giardina’s most recent stop was on Rick Barnes’ staff at Tennessee as a graduate assistant for the 2021-2022 season. He played a key role in the development of the All-SEC Freshman Zakai Zeigler and All-SEC point guard and SEC Tournament MVP Kennedy Chandler. During the freshman’s outstanding debut season with the Vols in 2021-22. Chandler led UT in scoring (13.9 ppg), assists (4.7 apg) and steals (2.18 spg) while shooting 38 percent from 3-point range
We are very fortunate to have Josh with us here at ECU,” Schwartz stated. “He is the ultimate grinder and was one of the first coaches we wanted to be a part of our coaching staff. He made a great impact on our players during our time at Tennessee together and has already done the same here with our team. He is one of the sharpest young coaches in this profession that has great experience with player development, video-editing and scouting.”
Prior to Tennessee, Giardina spent the 2020-21 season as a graduate assistant at Radford University under head coach Mike Jones. Radford was projected to finish fifth in the Big South standings. The 2020-2021 Highlanders incoming recruiting class added 8 new players to the program, 5 of which were freshman. Radford outperformed expectations and turned in a second-place finish with a 12-6 league mark.
The Harrisburg Pennsylvania native is a 2020 graduate of Marymount University (Virginia) with a degree in health science. He was a four-year standout point guard for the Division III Saints and served as captain during his junior and senior campaign. Giardina graduated with Marymount’s highest honor of summa cum laude from the Marymount Honors Program. As a part of the Honors Program degree requirements, he researched the effects of coaching leadership styles on player efficiency for his senior independent-study thesis.
During the summer of 2019 Giardina worked as a recruiting coordinator for the Hoop Group, a grass-roots basketball company that conducts camps, clinics and tournaments. He managed recruitment and administration for highly attended camps at East Stroudsburg University in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. He also coached and assisted with player development throughout those events.
Pough joins the staff off a four-year stint as the Assistant Director of Basketball Performance at the University of Maryland. There, he worked with the nationally-ranked women’s basketball team, overseeing the Terrapins’ performance and nutrition regimens on a daily basis.
He is familiar with the program philosophy that Schwartz helped implement at Tennessee that was created at Texas by Todd Wright (Los Angeles Clippers) and is currently headed at Maryland by Kyle Tarp.
Keith is one of the very best Basketball Performance Coaches in the country,” Schwartz said. “His background as an elite student-athlete and professional has earned him immediate respect and credibility with our guys. Keith understands what it takes to win at the highest level of college basketball. He knows what we are looking to build here and experienced it firsthand during his time at Maryland. The foundation of his training philosophy is widely utilized in the NBA. Todd Wright (Los Angeles Clippers) and Todor Pandov (Philadelphia 76ers) are two of the most well-respected basketball performance coaches at the professional level. I have had the opportunity to work with both over my career and it’s exciting to have that coaching tree extend to us here at ECU.”
During his time in College Park, which also included a year as a basketball performance intern, Pough helped Maryland capture five Big Ten Conference regular season titles, four tournament championships and advance to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 three times (2017, 2021 and 2022).
Pough is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is also a certified Level-1 Sports Performance Coach from United States Weightlifting Association, a certified fascial stretch therapist, has FMS level I and Precision Nutrition Level I certifications, and is certified in Applied Functional Science by Gray Institute.
As a four-year captain and starting linebacker for Howard University’s football team, Pough recorded 350 tackles during his career, set multiple FCS national records for tackles for loss in a season (29), game (6), and career (72.5).
In addition to setting records, Pough was a three-time SBN Sports Black College All-American, three-time Phil Steele Publications Post Season First Team All-American, three-time Walter Camp Football Foundation FCS First Team All-American, three-time First Team All MEAC, 2012 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, MEAC sports 50th Anniversary All Football Team, 88th East West Shrine Bowl Defensive Captain, the 2013 Pat Tillman Character Award Recipient, and was named to the AP FCS All-American team three times.
Pough graduated from Howard in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education. There he was an initiate of the Founding Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Winsberg most recently served as an assistant coach with the men’s basketball program at Lincoln Trail College during the 2021-22 campaign. He coached the freshman of the year in the league, Greg Jenkins, assisting in his player and character development. From 2019-21 he was analytics coordinator at UT Arlington where he worked under head coach Chris Ogden and alongside current Pirate assistant coach Riley Davis.
“Matt embodies what we want our program to represent,” Schwartz stated. “He is a tireless worker that always puts the team first. He has earned the reputation in this business as a coach with incredible work ethic. Matt has made an immediate impact within our program with the strong relationships he has already established with our players and staff. He has invaluable experiences at different levels and has worked with great coaches at all his stops.”
In 2018-19, Winsberg lived in Israel for 11 months. He was the video coordinator and head scout for the first division professional club Maccabi Ashdod, working under head coach Brad Greenberg, who previously served as the Philadelphia 76ers General Manager. Previously, he was the assistant director of basketball operations with the University of New Orleans, serving under head coach Mark Slessinger.
A New Orleans native, Winsberg was a former student manager for the men’s basketball team at Louisiana State University during his senior year. Prior to that, Winsberg was a high school Assistant Coach at Isidore Newman and Christian Life, in New Orleans and Baton Rouge respectively. He graduated from LSU in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in sports administration and again in 2020 with a master’s degree in sports administration. Winsberg has a passion for serving with Special Olympics and has put on multiple basketball clinics with St. Michaels, a special education school in New Orleans.