By KEVIN HARRIS
FLOYDS KNOBS —
Floyd Central High School has hired a successful high school coach from Florida who was a former University of Louisville assistant coach to help revitalize its boys’ basketball program.
The New Albany-Floyd County School Corporation approved Mark Lieberman as the fifth coach in Highlanders’ history on Monday night during its board meeting. Lieberman replaced Randy Gianfagna, who compiled a 63-93 in his seven seasons at Floyd Central.
“[Indiana high school basketball] is a hot bed, a mecca,” Lieberman told the Hoosier Hills Hoops website on Monday evening. “I’m excited for this challenge.”
Lieberman was the head coach at Monsignor Pace High School in Miami for 13 seasons, compiling a 335-95 record. He guided Pace to four Florida state championships — three in Class 4A (1999, 2007 and 2008) and one in Class 3A (2003) — and three state runner-up finishes from 2004-06. In his 13 seasons at Pace, Lieberman guided the school to 10 Elite Eight appearances and helped 29 players earn NCAA Division I scholarships.
Lieberman also was an assistant at Pace when it won Florida’s Class 4A state championship in 1996.
Lieberman was named the Florida High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year three times (2003, 2007 and 2008). He also was a head coach in the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic in 2008 and the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2009.
Lieberman has spent the past three seasons working at the Division I level. During the 2010-11 season, he was a men’s assistant coach at the University of Louisville for Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino. That season the Cardinals posted a 25-10 record and finished runner-up in the Big East Conference Tournament.
After serving as the Cardinals’ director of basketball operations during the 2011-12 season, Lieberman returned to Miami last season as a men’s assistant coach at Florida International University for then-Panthers’ head coach Richard Pitino, the son of Rick Pitino. Richard Pitino was named the new head men’s coach at the University of Minnesota last month.
Florida International posted an 18-14 record last year, losing in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game to Western Kentucky 65-63.
Lieberman inherits a Floyd Central program that has had only three winning seasons in the past 12 years. The Highlanders’ best record during that 12-year span was in 2009-2010 when they posted a 15-8 mark.
Floyd Central has not won both a Hoosier Hills Conference championship and a sectional title since 1989 when former Highlander star Pat Graham was named Indiana Mr. Basketball.
That year, Floyd Central under head coach Joe Hinton shared the HHC title with Bedford North Lawrence, which was led by Indiana’s all-time leading scorer Damon Bailey. After the Highlanders won the sectional, they proceeded to win the regional and semistate titles to reach their second Final Four in school history.
Lieberman will receive an emergency teaching license this summer. He will be a social studies teacher at Floyd Central next school year.