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Tim Buckley

  • position Assistant Coach
  • position Assistant Coach

Tim Buckley

Veteran coach Tim Buckley was named the final assistant on Lamont Paris’ first staff at South Carolina on Thursday, April 14, 2022. He joined the Gamecocks after spending three seasons as an assistant at UNLV (2019-22) prior to his arrival in Columbia. Buckley enters his second season as an assistant on Paris’ Gamecock staff in 2023-24.

In season one at South Carolina in 2022-23, the team had an overhauled roster with eight new players, including just 14.9 percent of the team’s scoring and 18.4 percent of the minutes played returning from the year prior. The Gamecocks defeated Clemson at home, 60-58, for the first time since Dec. 19, 2014. The conference slate was highlighted by road wins at Kentucky, at Ole Miss and at LSU. The Gamecocks wire-to-wire victory at Rupp Arena on Jan. 10 was the team’s first there since 2009 and just the program’s third all-time win in Lexington since joining the SEC (1992). Carolina nearly knocked off SEC Champion and No. 2/2 Alabama at home but fell in overtime, 78-76, thanks to a late bucket from SEC Player of the Year Brandon Miller.

Several players had their most productive seasons to date under the new staff in year one in Columbia. Sophomore Jacobi Wright averaged 7.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He had a career-best six games in double figures in SEC play. Josh Gray led the team in rebounding, averaging 6.3 per game and 7.9 rebounds per contest in league action. He had a career-best eight games with 10 or more rebounds, seven of which came in SEC action. Gray also had the best game of his career with 20 points and 14 rebounds vs. Arkansas. Johnson averaged 12.7 points (second on team) and 3.6 assists per contest (eighth in the SEC). He led the team with 70 makes from behind the arc and was one of just eight players in the SEC to make 70 or more 3s.

The staff made early in-roads recruiting over the summer in 2022 with local product Gregory “GG” Jackson II reclassifying and enrolling early. The consensus top player in the 2023 class, Jackson was the highest rated signee in program history (recruit rankings started in early 2000s) and joined PJ Dozier (2015-17) as the only five-star Gamecock freshmen. Jackson would go on to earn All-SEC Freshman honors while leading the team in scoring at 15.4 points per game. He had 11 20-point games, the most by a Carolina freshman since joining the SEC in 1991-92. Jackson would go on to be selected 45th overall by the Memphis Grizzles in the 2023 NBA Draft. He became the first NBA Draft pick for the program since All-American Sindarius Thornwell in 2017.

“Tim and I have had a tremendous mutual respect for one another for a long time,” Paris said. “We have faced off against each other as foes in the Mid-American Conference, as in-state rivals while he was at Marquette and I was at Wisconsin, and as conference opponents in the Big Ten while he was at Indiana. It will be nice to be on the same sideline for a change. Tim is seasoned, accomplished, and highly regarded in this profession. He will be a tremendous asset to Gamecock Nation.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining Lamont and the rest of the staff at South Carolina,” Buckley said. “We both were in the Big Ten at the same time, and I have so much respect for everything he’s about. The SEC is one of the best conferences in the country. I couldn’t be more excited about the challenge ahead. We’re going to make Gamecock Nation proud on and off the floor.”

Buckley was hired by then-UNLV head coach T. J. Otzelberger prior to 2019-20 season.  After Otzelberger left for Iowa State before 2021-22 season, new Rebel head coach Kevin Kruger kept Buckley on the UNLV staff.

UNLV had its best of the three seasons in 2019-20, finishing in a tie for second in the Mountain West Conference, its best finish in 12 seasons.  The Rebels marque win was at #4-ranked San Diego State, is highest ranked true road win in 29 years.

During the summer of 2020, Buckley was named one of the top assistant coaches in the Mountain West by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.

One of the best players in recent UNLV history is Bryce Hamilton, who declared for the 2022 NBA Draft with one season of eligibility remaining.  In each of Buckley’s seasons on the Rebel staff, Hamilton’s scoring averages increased, from 16.0 in 2019-20 to 17.9 in 2020-21 and 21.8 in 2021-22.  Hamilton, a 6-4 guard, was a two-time All-Mountain West Conference (2020; 2022) selection and second team in 2021.

Buckley served as a scout with the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves for two years (2017-19) before returning to coaching with the Runnin’ Rebels. Prior to his time in the league, he worked as assistant and associate head coach under Tom Crean and Indiana for nine seasons (2008-17).

He was on staff for the entire Crean tenure in Bloomington, helping the Hoosiers to a 166-135 record (.551) including a 138-69 mark (.667) the last six seasons there. While at IU, Buckley was a part of two Big Ten titles (2013, 2016), four NCAA Tournament appearances and three trips to the Sweet Sixteen. He helped coach three All-Americans in Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell.

Buckley had assistant coaching stops at Marquette (2007-08) under Crean and at Iowa (2006-07) under Steve Alford.

He has had two stints as a head coach at Ball State (2000-06) and Rockford (1989-93). While with the Cardinals, he helped lead the team to upset wins over No. 3 Kansas and No. 4 UCLA during the 2001 Maui Invitational.

His collegiate coaching career began at NCAA Division II Bemidji State. Buckley played collegiately at Waubonsee Community College in Illinois before finishing at Bemidji State where he would earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Buckley and his wife Shannon, married in 1994, have one daughter, Meredith.