By MIKE PHILLIPS / Corsicana Daily Sun
He’s a basketball coach.
That’s what Michael Landers will gladly tell you. He’s honest and up front about who he is and what he wants to become, and that’s just one of the reasons Navarro College hired Landers to become its men’s basketball coach.
Landers, who has had tremendous success coaching women’s basketball including two national JUCO titles, got the phone call Friday. He couldn’t have been happier.
“I’m a basketball coach,’’ he said. “If you look at my record, I’ve been successful everywhere I’ve been. I feel I know how to run a program and feel I know how to win.
“I don’t have experience as a men’s coach. I can’t hide the fact that I have been a women’s basketball coach, but I’m a basketball coach. I think I have a system that will translate over to the men’s program. I don’t think the adjustment will be that great.’’
Becoming a men’s coach isn’t a reach for Landers, who has thought about making the move before.
“I have thought about it on several situations,’’ he said. “But the timing wasn’t right or the situation wasn’t right. The fact I’m familiar with the region and the fact I’ve known (Navarro AD) Roark Montgomery for 10 years and the fact I respect the basketball program and the athletic program at Navarro made me want this job.’’
Landers heard about the opening the day Johnny Estelle left Navarro on July 10 to take a job as an assistant coach at the University of Houston. Estelle leaves gigantic shoes to fill — he went 126-48 and won three regional championships in his eight years at Navarro.
“I was told about the job the day Johnny resigned, and I saw some reports on Twitter,’’ Landers said. “I have a great respect for the program and the overall athletic program at Navarro and became intrigued about the job.’’
He applied two days later, came to Corsicana for two interviews, and got the phone call on Friday, two days before his 42nd birthday.
“That’s a pretty good birthday gift,’’ Landers said.
Landers started his career at East Texas Baptist University, where he was an assistant for four years and the head coach for three years, going 76-13. He had two stints at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens and had a 299-39 record over 10 years that included national titles in 2004 and 2012. He won eight conference championships and five regional championships while he was in Athens.
Landers spent a year between TVCC jobs at Baton Rouge Community College, where he was the athletic director and women’s basketball coach. He went 22-6 his only year there and returned to TVCC in 2010.
Landers coached at TVCC along with his wife, Kenya, for his final two seasons. They went 70-3, including a 36-0 season in 2012 when he won his second national title at TVCC.
He left TVCC to become the assistant women’s basketball coach at Ole Miss, but left six months later when the head coach was fired.
Landers, 41, has been a sales consultant in Fort Worth for the past eight months, and wanted to return to coaching.
“I am very glad to be back in coaching, very much so,’’ Landers said. “I’ve missed coaching and teaching and being around young people. I wanted to get back to it.
“When I got the call I was a bit surprised and very thankful and very appreciative. I would imagine there was a great pool of coaches. It’s such a good position. I’ve followed Navarro from a distance for 10 years. I’m really appreciative for the opportunity because I don’t have experience on the men’s side. But I am a basketball coach.’’