A new face will patrol the sideline for the Warren Wilson College men's basketball team in the 2019-20 season.
Dominique Boone was announced as the new head coach of the Owls and the Swannanoa College's sports information director on May 16.
Warren Wilson launched a nationwide search after Anthony Barringer stepped down from the position in April. Barringer, a graduate of the college who won a national championship with the Owls as a player in 2012, coached the team for four seasons.
"We formed a search committee of seven people involved in athletics here at the college," said Warren Wilson Director of Athletics and Adventure Sports Joni Williamson. "We posted the position on the (National Collegiate Athletic Association) job search site, because we're about to begin our exploratory year of our membership."
The committee reviewed well over 100 applications, according to Williamson, and created a pool of candidates.
"We narrowed it down to a smaller number for phone interviews, then we conducted those interviews and set up in-person interviews," she said.
Boone, who most recently installed and coached men's and women's basketball programs at Paul Smith's College in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, emerged as a favorite.
"His coaching experience stood out," Williamson said of Boone. "He had experience as a sports information director, experience with the (United States Collegiate Athletic Association) and coaching experience with NCAA programs."
Boone grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he played high school basketball.
"I played basketball in high school and had opportunities to play for smaller colleges, but I elected to try to walk on at Middle Tennessee State University," he said. "I ended up getting injured before the season my freshman and sophomore year. If you would've asked me then if I thought I'd be a coach I would've thought you were crazy."
He started coaching children while in college and worked as a health adviser for corporations after graduation.
"Then I met my wife and she encouraged me to get into education," Boone said. "She knew I liked working with kids and told me I should look into teaching and coaching."
Boone coached high school basketball before picking up his first head coaching job on the middle school level. That position began a trend in his coaching career.
"I started a middle school program from scratch," he said. "Then I went to LEAD Academy in Nashville and started that program from scratch."
From there, Boone and his wife Tess moved to Philadelphia, where he joined the coaching staff at NCAA DIII Chestnut Hill College for two seasons.
"Then the opportunity at Paul Smith's came and I jumped on that," he said.
Warren Wilson first appeared on Boone's radar shortly after he accepted his first college head coaching position.
"Right after I got the job at Paul Smith's College I noticed that the job at Warren Wilson opened up, and I was interested in it then but I was already committed to Paul Smith's," he said. "I remember thinking that if it ever came back up it might be something I would look into."
The Owls were an intriguing opportunity for Boone, who liked the idea of being closer to home.
"A lot of my contacts, as far as recruiting, are in the south," he said. "And the idea that Warren Wilson is going through the process of joining the NCAA DIII was a huge factor in me really pursuing the job."
He was also impressed with the direction of the program under the previous coach.
"Coach Barringer did a good job developing a winning culture here," Boone said of the Warren Wilson program that won 58 games under Barringer's leadership. "I want to build onto that and continue to recruit great people into the program and keep building the off-court culture as well."
The Owls will hold dual-membership in the USCAA DII and NCAA DIII this season as they begin the transition of their athletic programs.
"I'm hoping I can be a part of that and help out however I can," said Boone, who is focusing on getting to know the community at his new school through his first few weeks on the job.
"I really want to build genuine relationships here," he said. "I'm currently recruiting for the 2019 season and I'll be working hard on that through mid-July and in August we're planning to host an elite prospect day here at Warren Wilson."