Lancaster retires at Aurora

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Lancaster led Aurora to nine NCAA Division III men's basketball tournaments and one Division III women's basketball tournament during his 30-year coaching career.
Aurora athletics photo 

After 30 seasons at Aurora, including 22 as the Spartans' head men's basketball coach, James Lancaster retired from coaching. The University announced assistant coach Lance Robinson as his replacement.

"The time has come for me to step away and turn the program over to a young, energetic person like I was 30 years ago," said Lancaster. "It has been a great ride coaching basketball at AU. I will miss all the relationships I've built over the years but look forward to the added time for my family and future challenges."

Lancaster steps down after 30 seasons as a men's and women's coach at AU. He spent his first four seasons (1986-1990) as a men's assistant coach under Don Holler, whom he would eventually replace as head coach. In the 1990-1991 season he stepped over to the AU women's basketball bench and led the Spartans for four seasons to a 58-42 record which included a 22-5 record in 1993-1994 and an appearance in the NCAA Division III women's basketball tournament.

Following the 1993-1994 success as the women's coach, Lancaster moved over to the Spartan men's basketball bench for his first of 22 seasons as the men's coach. In that position, he amassed an AU record 404 wins with 188 losses for a .682 win percentage. Under Lancaster the Spartan's men's team made nine NCAA Division III men's tournament appearances with 10 conference championships and a conference record of 232-76. Lancaster has been honored 10 times as a Conference Coach of the Year by his peers. Seventeen of the 32 members of the AU men's basketball 1,000-point club were achieved under his leadership.

"When you think about the number of lives that James has positively influenced and the number of successful young men and women that he's helped develop, the 400-plus wins almost become an afterthought. James has been the definition of Spartan basketball for nearly 30 years and his success on and off the court is nearly unrivaled in intercollegiate athletics during that time," said AU Director of Athletics Jim Hamad.

The University did not wait long to name Lancaster's replacement. A couple hours after announcing the retirement, Aurora announced that Lance Robinson had been promoted to head coach. He spent the previous six seasons as an assistant coach under Lancaster with three 20-win seasons during that time.

Robinson was also a successful player at Aurora. During his four years, the Spartans amassed an 81-34 record with four conference championships and four trips to the NCAA tournament. In his senior season, Robinson was named the conference player of the year and selected third-team All-Midwest Region.