Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney Athletic Director Marc Bauer announced today that head men’s basketball coach Kevin Lofton has signed a contract extension that makes him leader of the Loper program through November 2023. “Coach Lofton has established a culture in the UNK Men’s Basketball program that has demonstrated success on the court, in the classroom, in the community, and in student-athletes’ development, which will prepare them for life-long success. I want to send a message to our fans, recruits, and their families that I’m excited about our Men’s Basketball program’s future,” Bauer said. “I am continually impressed with Coach Lofton’s vision, work ethic, and passion for leading. It has been especially evident during the pandemic, demonstrating patience for the challenges we’ve faced and concern for the student-athletes’ health and well-being.” The new contract took effect on December 1, 2020, and includes a restructuring of the bonus incentives.
“I want to thank Marc Bauer for having the confidence in me to continue leading UNK men’s basketball. I’ve been a part of this program for 25 years and understand the rich tradition it has,” Lofton said. “My goal as head coach has been to continue the legacy of a strong product not just on the court but off it as well. I want our young men to be standouts in the community, classroom, and MIAA arenas.” Lofton has been a part of Loper basketball for the past 25 years, serving as graduate assistant, assistant coach, associate head coach, co-head coach and now head coach. He took over the program with the start of the 2015-16 campaign and has 240 career wins. “We are fortunate to have Coach Lofton leading the young men in our basketball program. The program made excellent progress last season. We can always expect his team to be prepared to play every game and compete with such tenacity,” Bauer said. “Despite the challenges we will face the remainder of this COVID season, we are committed to Coach Lofton, his staff, and look forward to Loper Men’s Basketball’s future.”
Last year UNK was picked 13th and 14th in the respective preseason polls but went 16-13 and finished a game out of fifth place in the league standings. The Lopers beat two NCAA Tournament qualifiers, had three seniors named to the All-MIAA team and took defending national champion Northwest Missouri State to the wire on the road. Overall, this marked UNK’s fourth trip to Kansas City for the MIAA Tournament in the past five years. “The MIAA is the premier men’s basketball league in NCAA Division II. I appreciate the support the community, alumni, and student body show our program on a yearly basis. The vision we have for this program is to see it become one of the hardest working, best conditioned, toughest, most unselfish, most fundamentally sound, and most respected teams in MIAA,” Lofton said. UNK hosts Rogers State (Friday) and Northeastern State (Sunday) this weekend. The schedule is altered a day due to winter commencement ceremonies in the Health & Sports Center Friday morning.