Head Men's Basketball Coach
Alma Mater: Central Washington, 1993
More than halfway into his second decade as the head men’s basketball coach at Central Washington University, Greg Sparling is the third-winningest coach in the program’s illustrious 102-year men’s basketball history.
Sparling, 43, just completed his 17th full season leading the Wildcat program. A five-time conference coach of the year with five conference championships to his credit, he trails only the legendary father-son duo of Leo (505 wins) and Dean Nicholson (609 wins) on the school’s all-time coaching victories list. He has also guided the CWU men to the NCAA Division II tournament in five of the past seven years and eight times in its 14 seasons as a NCAA member.
As far as experience is concerned within the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, only one other league coach -- Brad Jackson at Western Washington -- has a longer tenure at his current institution. Sparling served as the chair of the GNAC men’s basketball coaches committee for two years, and earlier this decade, he served a two-year term on the NCAA Division II West Region Rating Committee.
During each of the first nine seasons of Sparling’s tenure, and in 14 of 16 full seasons overall, Central Washington finished above the .500 mark. The Wildcats went 24-5 during the 1998-99 season -- their first full year as a NCAA Division II member -- and followed that performance with records of 21-7 and 18-10 the next two years. Sparling's best season came in 2010-11, when he guided CWU to a 26-4 record, a number five national ranking, and the right to host the D-II West Regional Tournament.
Sparling took over as the Wildcats’ head coach late in the 1994-95 season, when his predecessor, the late Gil Coleman, became ill. He guided Central to a 2-1 record after being named the interim head coach, and in his first full season at the helm the following winter, the Wildcats went 15-15 and advanced to the semifinals of the Pacific Northwest Athletic Conference tournament.
A 1993 graduate of CWU with a degree in art and a minor in art history, Sparling is a former Wildcat player and assistant coach as well. He played for CWU in 1989-90 and 1990-91, and was a co-captain his senior season. He averaged 9.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a senior, and received the team’s Most Inspirational Player award for the second straight year. He then spent three years as an assistant coach in the Wildcat program under Coleman.
Sparling was also at a standout player at both Highline Community College and Juanita High School prior to his arrival at Central. He was a two-year team captain and he earned all-NWAACC honors during his sophomore season at HCC.
Born June 4, 1968, Sparling married former CWU track and field athlete Kristin Lesparance in August 1995. The couple has two sons, Coleman (14) and Jacob (12).
Started at CWU:
1995-Present: Central Washington University (Ellensburg, WA) -- Head Men's Basketball Coach
1995: Central Washington University (Ellensburg, WA) -- Interim Head Men's Basketball Coach
1992-1995: Central Washington University (Ellensburg, WA) -- Assistant Men's Basketball Coach
1991-1992: Central Washington University (Ellensburg, WA) -- Men's Basketball Junior Varsity Coach
1989-1991: Central Washington University -- Basketball (Forward)
1987-1989: Highline Community College -- Basketball (Forward)
Central Washington University, 1993 -- B.A. in Art
Highline Community College, 1989 -- A.A.
Juanita High School (WA), 1986
SPARLING'S YEAR-BY-YEAR COACHING RECORD AT CENTRAL WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: