Augustana Men's Basketball Camps
Recognition as the top Division II basketball coach for 2013 surprised Augustana’s 11th year head coach Tom Billeter. But then his Vikings’ accomplishments in 2012-13 were shocking to some.
Billeter emerged from a field of 15 candidates as the winner of the 2013 Clarence “Big House” Gaines National Coach of the Year Award. In addition, he was a finalist for the John McLendon Coach of the Year honors.
The Vikings’ 22-9 record for 2012-13 marked the fourth time in the last six seasons a Billeter team produced 20 or more wins. And, for the seventh consecutive year, Augustana posted a winning record. Augustana also has four consecutive top four finishes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference regular-season standings.
The 2012-13 season ranks among the most satisfying in Billeter’s 15 years as a head coach. A sophomore and three first-year freshmen earned starting roles and never wilted during the grueling campaign.
But, Augustana’s success didn’t catch Billeter completely off guard. The youngsters possessed enormous talent and when taking the court they looked up to a gifted and seasoned point guard in senior Cam McCaffrey.
Recruited by Billeter out of Portland, Oregon, McCaffrey scored 659 points in 2012-13 to bring his career total to a school record 1,964. He was the Vikings’ scoring leader in 28 of their 31 games and tallied 20 or more points in a game 18 times. He was named to three All-America teams and finished second in balloting for the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Year.
Billeter has taken the Vikings to the NCAA tournament five of the last six seasons. In 2012-13 the 24th ranked Vikings reached the semifinals of the Central Region showdown for the second time during his tenure.
At Augustana he has mentored three players who were voted NSIC Freshmen of the Year – Cody Schilling (2009), McCaffrey (2010) and Daniel Jansen (2013).
Billeter notched his 200th career coaching win in 2009-2010 and approaches the 2013-14 season with an overall record of 263-174. Over the last seven seasons his Vikings have logged a 140-67 record.
In five seasons as the head coach at North Dakota State University, Billeter compiled a 97-50 record. During his tenure the Bison posted four consecutive 20-win seasons and earned four straight appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament. In 1994-95 the Bison earned a share of the North Central Conference championship with a 12-6 record. Billeter compiled a 57-33 record against NCC opposition and the Bison were three-time conference runners-up.
Billeter began his coaching career at the University of Arizona, where he worked two seasons (1985-1987) alongside legendary coach Lute Olson. The Wildcats were 23-9 in 1985-86 and won the Pac 10 Conference title. Arizona advanced to the NCAA Tournament both seasons.
During his stint in Arizona, Billeter coached Sean Elliott (NBA), Steve Kerr (NBA), Tom Tolbert (NBA), Jud Buechler (NBA) and Kenny Lofton (MLB). He then moved to Rice, where he served as an assistant coach from 1987 to 1992. The Owls won 20 games in 1991-92, the first 20-win season since 1953-54. Rice narrowly missed being awarded berths in the NCAA and NIT tournaments. While at Rice, Billeter coached the Owls’ star center, Brent Scott (NBA).
Billeter’s 29 years in coaching includes experience outside the United States. In 1996 he coached Team America, a squad composed of NCAA Division I players ages 22-and-younger. His squad participated in the Turgut Atakol Tournament in Istanbul, Turkey.
Following a five-year run at NDSU, Billeter spent the 1997-98 season at St. John’s (N.Y.), where he served under head coach Fran Fraschilla and helped the Red Storm to a 22-10 record. Led by Felipe Lopez (NBA) and Ron Artest (NBA), St. John’s advanced to the NCAA tournament.
Billeter then began a five-year run at Texas A&M under head coach Melvin Watkins. Together they helped the Aggies gain respect in the Big 12 Conference. In 2002-03, the Aggies posted a 14-14 record marking just the second .500 or better season in 14 years. While with the Aggies Billeter had the opportunity to coach prominent players including Bernard King and Antoine Wright (NBA). King is Texas A&M’s career scoring leader and the second all-time leading scorer in the history of the Big 12. Wright was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2002-03.
Billeter earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Illinois in 1983 and his master’s degree in exercise physiology from Arizona in 1987. Tom and his wife, Paula, are the parents of four children: Mike (Lindsie), Kelsey, Kyle, and Brett.