Stetson men’s basketball head coach Corey Williams has completed his inaugural coaching staff. Mike Jaskulski, Nikita Johnson, and Bert Capel will join the Hatter program as assistant coaches for the 2013-14 season, Williams announced on Thursday.
“They have a wealth of experience,” Williams said of his completed staff. “When you look at the mesh of coaches we have now, it’s a good mesh. We have experience, we have energy, and we have leadership. That’s important, and I think when we put all of our heads together, we’ll have a plan that will allow Stetson to compete for a championship.”
Jaskulski is a 31-year veteran of the basketball coaching profession. Beginning as an assistant coach at then NAIA member Loras College in 1982, Jaskulski has coached at nearly every level before landing in DeLand to coach alongside Williams. After taking over the head coaching position at Loras, and leading the team to five consecutive National Catholic Basketball Tournament Final Fours, Jaskulski moved up to the Division I ranks at Maine.
Helping to turn the Black Bears into one the premiere teams in what we know now as the America East from 1988-93, Jaskulski then landed at Miami. While with the Canes, from 1993-97, the team recorded three-straight winning seasons, and never finished below fifth in the Big East. It was then that Jaskulski earned his first head coaching gig at the Division I level, taking the reins at Towson. By his final season with the Tigers, Towson had improved its record to 12-17, a win total only matched once by the program since 2001.
Jaskulski took one season away from collegiate basketball to work as an advance scout for the WNBA’s New York Liberty. In 2002 he joined the staff at Florida State, where he was a part of bringing in the number one recruiting class in the nation in 2002-03. Over the subsequent three seasons, the Seminoles reached the second round of the NIT twice, which included a 20-10 campaign in 2005-06, the first at FSU since 1996-97.
Moving from Tallahassee to Orlando, Jaskulski continued his storied career at the University of Central Florida as the Knights’ Associate Head Coach. While on staff, UCF recorded three consecutive winning seasons spanning 2006-09. The Knights’ 22-9 mark in 2006-07 placed them second in Conference USA. After taking over as interim head coach for a couple of months at the end of the 2009-10 season, Jaskulski took a job as an assistant coach at Alabama-Birmingham.
The Blazers won their first ever outright regular season Conference USA Championship with Jaskulski on staff in 2010-11. UAB finished 22-8 and were a 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Following the 2011-12 season, Jaskulski tried his hand at coaching overseas as an assistant coach for the Liaoning Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association. This past season the Leopards reached the playoffs for the first time since 2009 with an overall record of 19-13.
Jaskulski, also a prominent camp director and clinician across the country over the years, has two daughters with his wife Marcia, Katie (22) and Carly (16). He earned his Bachelor of Arts at St. Norbert College in 1976, and his Master of Science at Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1984.
“Mike understands a program like Stetson,” Williams said of Jaskulski. “He’s going to be a guy I lean on a lot as it relates to day-to-day operations. His experience is invaluable. It will allow us to reach our full potential, because he’s experienced it on a big level and on a lower level as well. Mike knows the ropes. He’s recruited all around the world, so he’ll allow us to branch out a bit further. He’s a coach who understands what it takes to be successful at this level.”
Johnson comes to Stetson with plenty of collegiate coaching experience of his own. Highlighted by a trip to the Final Four with LSU in 2006, Johnson’s career spans 32 years, most recently as an assistant at Louisiana Lafayette from 2010-12. In 2011-12 the Ragin’ Cajuns posted their first winning season in seven years with Johnson on staff.
Prior to that he was the Associate Head Coach at Louisiana Tech from 2007-10. The Bulldogs made an appearance in the College Insider Tournament in 2009-10 after recording 24 wins, the most for La Tech since 1985. It was during Johnson’s three-year stint at LSU that he reached the final four with the Tigers, and the team also added a 2004-05 Co-SEC West Division Championship during the stint.
From 1993 to 2004 Johnson spent time on the staffs of Murray State, Duquesne, Tennessee State, and New Orleans. He got his start in college coaching at Chipola Junior College in 1981. After two seasons at Division II’s West Georgia, and two more at Odessa College of the NJCAA, Johnson moved to the Division I ranks at Murray State. The Racers collected two Ohio Valley Conference titles, one NIT appearance, and one NCAA Tournament appearance during his time in Kentucky.
Johnson has coached or recruited over 50 players who went on to play professionally – including current NBA players Glen Davis, Tyrus Thomas, Brandon Bass, Mike James, and Anthony Randolph – worked for six coaches who have received Coach of the Year honors, and was voted a top five assistant coach in the Sun Belt Conference.
A native of Greenwood, Florida, Johnson earned regional, all-county, and all-district honors for Marianna High. He helped his team go 76-10 in three seasons, including a pair of runner-up finishes in the Class AAA state playoffs in 1977 and 1978. Johnson earned his Associate of Arts degree at Chipola Junior College in 1981, and his Bachelor of Arts at West Georgia in 1989. He is married to the former Tonya Ramey of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
“Nikita’s knowledge of the game speaks for itself,” Williams said of Johnson. “He’s an unbelievable recruiter, he’s a great person, he understands the game, and he’ll be able to relate to our players as well as anybody in the country. When you look at the number of coaches he’s been up under who have been Coach of the Year, I’m hoping he brings some of that good fortune here to Stetson.”
The youngster of the group, Capel joins the Hatter family after serving as an assistant coach at Jacksonville College in Texas this past season. Prior to joining the Jaguars staff, Capel was at Florida State, first as a graduate assistant from 2009-11, and then as the recruiting assistant for the 2011-12 season. Working with Corey Williams and the Seminoles, Capel played a role in everything from scouting reports to individual workouts. During his time at Florida State, Capel was a part of the school’s first ever ACC Championship, the ‘Noles reached the NCAA Tournament three times, and once made it to the Sweet 16.
Capel began his coaching career at his alma mater, Evangel University in Missouri. From 2006-09 the team posted three-straight 20-win seasons, two national tournament appearances, and was consistently ranked in the top 25 of the NAIA. As a player at Evangel, Capel was a member of the Crusaders’ national championship team that finished 35-1 and was ranked #1 throughout the entire year.
A graduate of Heritage Academy in Florence, Ky., Capel was inducted into the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 for his accomplishments in both basketball and baseball. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Evangel in 2005, a Master of Arts at Evangel in 2008, and a Master of Science at Florida State in 2011. Capel and his wife, Stacy, have two daughters, Myla (2) and Kinzli (4 months).
“Bert is a very knowledgeable young man, and a rising star in this profession,” Williams said of Capel. “He understands individual workouts and skill training. He will do a lot of the day-to-day operations for us, working with and developing our kids, and making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Bert’s going to be invaluable to us here at Stetson.”