|David Arsenault, Jr. went 16-7 as Grinnell's interim head coach last season.
Grinnell athletics file photo
Grinnell College made the transition atop its men's basketball program official as David Arsenault, Jr. will be named the Pioneers' head coach on a permanent basis, replacing his father. The younger Arsenault will retain the interim title for this season and then formally take over in the summer of 2018 when his father's sabbatical ends.
"I am very excited to announce this appointment because during the interview process David Jr. was exceptional in his projected approach regarding both coaching and teaching in our PE/Athletic department," said Director of Athletics and Recreation Andy Hamilton. "His background in both basketball and golf uniquely prepared him for the position, and he was convincing with his intent to contribute in faculty work."
"I would first like to thank Grinnell College, Athletic Director Andy Hamilton and the entire athletic department for this incredible opportunity," said Arseneault Jr. in the College's release. "I am honored to be joining such a prestigious academic institution as a faculty member and head coach of both the women's golf and men's basketball teams. Grinnell College is a special place that attracts some of the best students from around the globe. I am thankful for the chance to be a part of their overall college experience."
Arseneault Jr. is no stranger to the Pioneer basketball program, as he's serving his second season in a row as interim coach while his father is on sabbatical leave granted by the college.
Prior to returning to Grinnell, Arseneault Jr. spent two seasons leading the Reno Bighorns, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Sacramento Kings.
In his final season at Reno, the Bighorns won the Western Conference with a 33-17 mark, claimed the Pacific Division title and set a D-League record for offensive efficiency. Arseneault Jr. was named Coach of the Year by SB Nation.
Over a two-season span, the Bighorns posted a 53-47 record and had six players called up to the NBA. They led the league in numerous categories, including points per game, 3-point field goals, 3-point percentage, assists per game and assist-turnover ratio.
As a player at Grinnell, Arseneault Jr. was a three-time finalist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award while finishing as the NCAA Division III all-time leader in career assists average with 9.4 per game. As a senior, Arseneault led the nation in assists per game (10.2) and ranks 11th on the Pioneers' all-time scoring chart with 1,462 points.
"Outsiders will note that David Jr. has a long association with Grinnell College. As his future supervisor, I am positively affected by his accomplishments as both a high-level athlete and young person in the field of coaching. David is invested in his work, connects well with people and possesses creativity which is commensurate with levels we expect at Grinnell," evaluated Hamilton.
Arseneault Jr. will continue to run the famous high-octane "System" developed by his father several years ago, a style of play that has allowed Grinnell to lead the nation in scoring and 3-pointers 20 of the past 24 seasons.
Arseneault Jr., who has spent time as the Pioneer men's and women's assistant golf coach, will take over a successful women's golf program that has won five Midwest Conference titles in a row while boasting All-Americans each of the last two years.
"The opportunity to teach and coach in my hometown, and at the place where I had such a memorable experience as a student-athlete, is a dream come true," said Arseneault Jr. "I am beyond excited about the two programs that I'll have the chance to lead. The women's golf team has been competing at a very high level and I am eager to build on their success. The men's basketball team has a storied history and I look forward to continuing an exciting brand of basketball."
Grinnell went 16-7, 13-5 in the MWC under Arsenault Jr. last season. The Pioneers open the 2017-18 season with three games against non-Division III opponents before playing Central on Nov. 21.