The University of Florida held their press conference to introduce the new women’s basketball coach Cameron Newbauer to the program on Tuesday. Newbauer is the first hire of the Scott Stricklin era after Florida fired former head coach Amanda Butler.
Newbauer says this job is a “dream come true” for him, coaching in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball.
— Cierra Clark (@cierrarosec) March 28, 2017
Stricklin’s First Sight
University of Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin had his first glimpse of Newbauer when Stricklin was at Mississippi State last year coaching his Belmont Bruins. Mississippi State was hosting a NCAA tournament game and Newbauer’s team was playing Michigan State, a much higher seed. Stricklin noticed the Belmont team was not as talented as Michigan State’s but they hung with them.
Stricklin also paid attention to the bench. That’s where he spotted Newbauer. Stricklin liked his presence and the way his players responded to him. Mississippi State wasn’t in need of a new women’s coach at the time, but he remembered Newbauer’s name for anyone else who would need one.
When the time came for Florida to hire a new coach he asked around and Newbauer’s name kept coming up. “Certain things kept coming up over and over about Cam; how respected he is, the way he connects with people, the number of people who know him, and how he treats people,” Stricklin said.
Newbauer, a Fort Wayne, Indiana native started his college basketball career at Madonna College in Livonia Michigan as a player for a season. He transferred to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and received his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.
Before coming to coach the Florida Gators, he was a head coach at Belmont University in the Ohio Valley Conference. He spent his past four seasons as the head coach. His team reached the NCAA tournament his last two seasons. They won the last 35 of 36 games in conference play. This season they entered the NCAA tournament with a 25 game win streak but fell to the Kentucky Wildcats in the first round.
The Belmont Bruins won the conference regular season championship this past season and won the conference tournament title the past two. This season Newbauer was named Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year.
“I thank Belmont University, they believed in me first,” Newbauer says.
Returning to the Southeastern Conference
Newbauer is no stranger to the SEC he worked under Rob Lanier, who was an assistant coach under former Gator Basketball coach Billy Donovan. Lanier was the men’s head coach at Siena college at the time but is now the associate head coach at the University of Tennessee.
His first real SEC experience came at the University of Georgia. For the 2003-2004 season, he was a graduate manager for the men’s team and eventually became a director of basketball operations for the men (2005-07).
He stayed with the Bulldogs and joined Hall of Famer Andy Landers as the women’s assistant coach from 2007-2012.
Newbauer got his first experience of the University of Florida while at Georgia. “When we came here I will tell you that out of everywhere I’ve been in this nation, I have never ever seen anything like the atmosphere in the O-dome. It was my first taste of the University of Florida in Gainesville.”
Then, was in the ACC for a season (2012-2013), as an assistant at the University of Louisville. He helped the Cardinals obtain a 29-9 record, No.5 seed in the NCAA tournament, and even a national championship game berth.
The following season he got his first job as a head coach in Division I basketball at Belmont.
Newbauer is up to not only fulfill his dreams on coaching the Florida Gators but to simply coach this team.
— Gators WBasketball (@GatorsWBK) March 28, 2017