Matt Figger enters his fifth season at South Carolina and his fourth as the associate head coach, after most recently serving as an assistant coach for the Gamecocks (2012-13), and previously in the same capacity at Kansas State for Frank Martin for five seasons (2007-12). Figger is also Carolina's recruiting coordinator and helped the staff sign the No. 23 ranked class in the nation during the spring of 2013 according to ESPN.com. Figger brings over 20 years of coaching experience in various levels of the college ranks to the South Carolina sidelines.
"Upon losing Brad Underwood [to the head coaching position at Stephen F. Austin in April 2013] the decision to promote Matt Figger to associate head coach was an easy one," Martin said about Figger's promotion. "Matt has been with me from day one at Kansas State, and he is as ready as anyone can be to take on head coaching duties. I'm excited for what he brings to our program every single day, and he'll remain responsible for the same things that he has done up to this point. I just want everyone to understand and know - players, and everyone who is around us - that Matt is ready to take on the challenge of being a head coach."
Along with serving as the recruiting coordinator for the Gamecocks, Figger also coordinates team practices and individual workouts. As the associate head coach, he plays an instrumental role within the Gamecock program. During August 2016, Figger handled the majority of coaching duties, including practices, media requests and on-court coaching during Carolina's foreign tour to Costa Rica.
During Figger's first season on staff (2012-13), the Gamecocks posted a 14-18 overall record, clinching the Hoops For Hope Classic Tournament crown after going undefeated in the event, which concluded in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, over the Thanksgiving holiday. South Carolina won four of its final six games in 2013-14, including two SEC Tournament victories, the first wins for the Gamecocks at the event since the 2008 campaign. The Gamecocks battled through a challenging non-conference schedule, posting wins vs. Saint Mary's at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic and home wins versus Alabama, Vanderbilt and No. 17 Kentucky during league play.
Figger helped the Gamecocks to a 17-16 overall record, including six SEC victories and an upset win over No. 9/9 Iowa State during the 2014-15 campaign. It marked the Gamecocks' first winning record and the most league wins since 2010. For the second-straight season, Carolina won four of its final six games, including two victories in the SEC Tournament, advancing to the quarterfinal round. Carolina also excelled in the classroom, posting its fifth-consecutive semester of a team GPA of a 3.0 or above during the spring, with the squad earning the NABC Team Academic Excellence Award, three earning NABC Honors Court accolades, and 12 team members named to the SEC Winter Academic and the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Rolls.
The 2015-16 Gamecocks put together one of the top seasons in their history, matching a school record for wins with a 25-9 overall record on the year, while the Gamecocks reached double-digit SEC wins for just the fourth time since joining the league, posting an 11-7 mark in conference contests, marking the Gamecocks' best finish in the league (t-3rd) since the SEC combined its East and West Divisions in 2012. South Carolina began the season 15-0, its best start since the 1933-34 campaign and went on to post a school-record 24 regular-season wins. The outstanding season saw the Gamecocks advance to the Postseason NIT as one of four No. 1 seeds, marking Carolina's first trip to the postseason since 2009.
Three Gamecocks were honored with postseason awards by the SEC coaches in 2016, with senior forward Michael Carrera earning First Team All-SEC accolades, junior guard Sindarius Thornwell was named to the All-Defensive Team and junior guard Duane Notice was named the league's Sixth Man of the Year. Carrera went on to earn honors from several organizations following the best season of his career. Carrera, Notice and Thornwell each reached the 1,000 career-point plateau during the season as well.
The Gamecocks continued to excel in the classroom during the 2015-16 campaign. The spring semester saw Carolina post a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or higher for the fifth time in the last six semesters, and 10 student-athletes were named to the SEC Winter Academic and the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Rolls.
Figger, who was promoted to KSU's recruiting coordinator in June 2011, played a key role in the development of the Kansas State program, as the team posted 20-win seasons and advanced to the postseason, with four trips to the NCAA Tournament, in each of his five seasons with the Wildcats.
Figger joined the staff at Kansas State in 2007 as an assistant coach, where he helped coach two All-Americans and numerous all-conference selections. Figger was a member of Martin's staff during all five years of Martin's time as the head coach at Kansas State. The program amassed an impressive 117 victories during that time and the squad won at least 21 games each season, while finishing fifth or higher in the Big 12 each year.
During his first season on staff at KSU, Figger helped the Wildcats post their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1988 after posting a 21-12 overall record, including a third-place finish in the Big 12 with a 10-6 mark. The finish in league play was the highest for the Wildcats since the inception of the league.
The 2008-09 squad posted 22 wins and earned an at-large bid to the Postseason NIT, which set the stage for a record-setting season in 2009-10, when the team posted a school-record 29 wins, en route to the program's first NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearance in over two decades. The Wildcats defeated six ranked opponents that season, and concluded the year ranked in the Top 10 in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll (No. 7) and the Associated Press Top 25 Poll (No. 7).
Kansas State advanced to the third round in the NCAA Tournament during the 2010-11 season, as the squad posted a 23-11 record, including a 10-6 mark in league play to finish third in the Big 12. Among the team's 23 wins were six over ranked teams, including the nation's top-ranked squad (No. 1 Kansas) and its first over a Top 10 team (No. 7 Texas) on the road since 1994. The team finished in the Top 25 of both polls in 2011, including No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll.
The 2011-12 season saw Kansas State once again advance to the NCAA Tournament third round, concluding the season with a 22-11 overall record. The Wildcats posted a 10-8 mark in Big 12 play to finish fifth, which made Kansas State and cross-state rival Kansas as the only Big 12 schools to receive a bye into the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in each of the previous six seasons, with Figger on staff for the last five campaigns.
Prior to his time at Kansas State, Figger served a brief stint as the director of operations at Arkansas (April-June 2007), which followed five seasons as an assistant coach at South Alabama for John Pelphrey (2003-07). South Alabama enjoyed some of its greatest success during Figger's time on staff, especially the final two seasons when the team reached the NCAA Tournament and NIT, respectively. Prior to his time with the Jaguars, Figger spent 10 years as an assistant coach in the junior college ranks, including stints at Wabash Valley (Ill.) (1993-94), Vincennes (1994-99) and Odessa (Texas) College (2000-02). At the junior college level, his teams won 20 or more games eight times, captured six region and four district titles and advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament four times.
Figger, a native of Jenkins, Ky., earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Eastern Kentucky in 1995. He played baseball at Pikeville College in Pikeville, Ky. (1990-91), before completing his education at Eastern Kentucky. Figger and his wife Katrina have a son, Vincent.