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OC basketball assistant Battisti takes top job at SW Oklahoma

OC assistant coach Bob Battisti has been named as the head men's basketball coach at Southwestern Oklahoma State.
OC assistant coach Bob Battisti has been named as the head men's basketball coach at Southwestern Oklahoma State.

WEATHERFORD, Okla. (April 17, 2013) – Bob Battisti, who has spent the last two seasons as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Oklahoma Christian, was named on Wednesday as the head coach at Southwestern Oklahoma State.

Battisti will begin his duties immediately at Southwestern, an NCAA Division II university that is a member of the Great American Conference.

“It has been a pleasure to have Bob on our staff at Oklahoma Christian University for the last two years,” OC head coach Dan Hays said. “He is a true professional in everything that he does. Everyone knows what an outstanding technical coach he is, but it goes a lot deeper than that. I truly value his friendship and SWOSU got one of the best at any level of basketball.”

Hays said Southwestern athletic director Todd Thurman – himself a former OC basketball assistant under Hays – “hit a grand slam home run with this hire.”

Hays said Battisti’s position on the OC staff will not be filled and that the Eagles now will have only two assistant coaches, Terril Hankins and Rob McKinzie.

During Battisti’s two seasons at OC, the Eagles enjoyed considerable success. OC won the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament title in 2012, the program’s first postseason championship in 30 years. This past season, OC reached the National Christian College Athletic Association championship game, the best postseason showing in the program’s history.

“I worked for a tremendous guy and I owe a great debt of gratitude to Dan Hays because he is simply the best,” Battisti said. “He took me in and gave me a chance to get back involved with the game. What a great man and I owe him a big ‘Thank you.’”

Before arriving at OC, Battisti worked for 25 years at Northwestern Oklahoma State University – 21 as the men’s basketball coach and four as the athletic director – before retiring in July 2011. At Northwestern, he posted a 374-265 record.

Before arriving at Northwestern, Battisti served as an assistant coach at Bethany Lutheran (Minn.) for three seasons and as the head coach at Lakewood (Minn.) Community College for three seasons, where he went 35-31.