Log In

Reset Password
Sports Youth Sports Professional Sports More Sports College Sports High School Sports

Fort Lewis hires Jordan Mast as next men’s basketball coach

Mast comes to Durango after leading University of Antelope Valley
Jordan Mast has been hired as the next men's basketball coach at Fort Lewis. Mast spent the past five seasons as the head coach of NAIA University of Antelope Valley in California. (Courtesy Jordan Mast)

The Fort Lewis Department of Athletics has moved on from Bob Pietrack quickly and announced on Monday that Jordan Mast will be the new men’s basketball coach.

Mast, age 37, comes to Durango after leading NAIA University of Antelope Valley to a 98-25 record during his five seasons as head coach.

“It’s been a whirlwind, it's happened very fast, which is a good thing,” Mast said. “It’s important, especially with the current status of the team. The best word I can use to describe my feelings is excitement. I'm very excited for the opportunity. Now that I've actually been on campus I’m even more excited. It's just a beautiful area.”

Mast grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon and went to Gonzaga University to play basketball in 2005. He said Durango’s downtown reminds him both of Hillsboro and Spokane, Washington, where Gonzaga is located.

When Mast was at Gonzaga, current Gonzaga head coach Mark Few was the coach, Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd was an assistant and Boise State head coach Leon Rice was also an assistant. Mast said he knew he wasn’t an NBA player and learned a lot from the coaching staff at Gonzaga from sitting on the bench instead of playing.

The Gonzaga coaching staff gave Mast a lot of responsibilities as a player and showed him the work ethic needed to run a successful program.

After Mast’s playing career ended due to injury, he got into finance. But despite being paid well for his positions, he felt unfulfilled and wanted to get back into coaching.

Mast began coaching his younger brother’s team and launched an AAU organization called Oregon Elite Basketball in 2010. By 2015, the organization had grown to 36 teams but it got too big for Mast to enjoy and it got shut down.

From 2015 to 2017, Mast was an assistant coach at Division III California Institute of Technology. In his two seasons, Cal Tech had the most wins in a season in over 61 years. Those two seasons were the only time Mast has had a losing season as a player or coach.

Mast then moved on to become an assistant coach at the University of Antelope Valley where he took over as head coach in the 2019-2020 season.

Antelope Valley only played four years during Mast’s tenure as head coach because of COVID-19. The Pioneers were nationally ranked in NAIA and won their conference in three of those years, according to Mast.

“We recruited a lot of high-major Division II and Division I transfers,” Mast said. “Guys from Memphis, Missouri State and LSU so high-major type transfer guys. We were able to piece together a lot of success in a school that was a very tough school to win at in terms of resources, scholarships and funding.”

Mast and Antelope Valley went 26-5 this past season despite the school closing down for good at the end of the season. Mast had to help his seniors graduate and other players move on from the program.

Out of a job, Mast saw the Fort Lewis job and applied immediately. He said his views aligned with Fort Lewis Director of Athletics Travis Whipple’s.

“Very quickly with Jordan, I realized his passion for impacting lives and graduating champions,” Whipple said. “Those things really aligned with our culture and our values and you combine those things with just being a proven winner as a head coach, 98-25 at his previous stop. Obviously, he was part of a great program as a student-athlete when you talk about Gonzaga basketball.”

Mast said his background at the NAIA level will help him piece together a good roster next season at Fort Lewis on short notice.

“Every year it seemed like we were piecing together a team,” Mast said about his time at the NAIA level. “We were taking transfers or junior college transfers. We weren't recruiting a lot of high school guys. So our experience of putting together a roster every year and keeping that roster competitive and building a quick culture within a year will apply specifically to this year where we're coming in and might have to take a lot of transfers. We don't have a lot of returners.”

Mast describes himself as an outgoing person who loves talking to people. Therefore, he has a lot of connections at the Division II level. Mast is good friends with Matt Margenthaler who led Minnesota State to the Division II National Championship this past season. Mast said he’s looking forward to talking to his friends at the Division II level to get better sense of how to be successful at this level.

Fort Lewis fans can expect Mast’s teams to be energetic and to have fun. He describes himself as a player’s coach who wants to help his players succeed in all areas of life.

The Skyhawks next season will trap and press similarly to how Fort Lewis did this past season, according to Mast. He’s a big fan of how Division II power Nova Southeastern plays under head coach Jim Crutchfield.

“On offense, we will be attacking the rim at a high level,” Mast said. “We don't settle a lot for threes. We want to take great shots. We're not analytically driven, where it's ‘hey, we're going to shoot a bunch of threes as fast as possible.’ We're going to always work for the best shot, but we do want to play fast and get a quick good shot.”

Mast said he wants to play a deep rotation and is looking in the portal, in the JUCO ranks and internationally to fill out next year’s roster. He said he’s working very hard to retain players from last year’s Skyhawks roster.

Although Mast doesn’t have any assistants for next season, he expects to announce the hiring of at least one assistant in the next week.