Head Coach Jason Pruitt

 

Jason Pruitt, a seasoned coach and athlete who champions players on and off the court, enters his fourth season as the University of La Verne's head women's basketball coach.

In his third season, the Leopards made remarkable strides to improve the program and get it back on track. Under the guidance of Pruitt and his staff, the Leopards finished 2019-2020 with the most wins since the program’s 2008-2009 season. In this most recent season, the Leopards led the SCIAC in scoring, rebounds, assists, and steals and out-rebounded 429 other NCAA DIII programs to end the year ranked nationally in several categories. As a team, the Leopards ranked top-10 in five statical categories. First in offensive rebounds per game, first in rebounds per game, fifth in three-point field goals attempted, fifth in total rebounds, and sixth in scoring offense.  The program was also ranked 24th in three-point field goals made and 15th in three-point field goals made per game.  

Under the leadership of the coaching staff, Jazzlyn Johnson, Destinee Garcia, Deejanae Gill, and Jasmine Xiong received SCIAC Athlete of the Week honors, and Johnson also earned First Team All-SCIAC honors. Senior center Brittany McDaniel led the conference in block shots. The Leopards also scored the second-most points in program history in a 122-59 win over St. Katherine in the season finale.

During his second season, Pruitt was able to lead the women’s basketball program to the most wins since the 2013-2014 season. Under the leadership of the coaching staff, Monica Garcia-Silva was named to the D3Hoops.com Team of the Week. earned SCIAC Women's Basketball Offensive Athlete of the Week honors, and earned Second Team All-SCIAC honors. Senior guard Bailey Kurahashi led the nation in three-point field goals attempted, ranked in the top-15 in three-point field goals per game, and place in the top-30 in three-point field goals made.

As a team, the Leopards ranked 8th in the country offensive rebounds per game and 18th in the country for rebounds per game.

In his first season at La Verne, Pruitt guided star guard Clarissa Perez to First Team All-SCIAC honors. Perez led the SCIAC and ranked second in the nation with 24.1 points per game. The Leopards also set the program record for points scored in a game in a 135-84 with over St. Katherine which is currently tied for the fifth-most points ever scored in a game in NCAA Division III history.

Prior to landing at La Verne, Pruitt served as head coach at the University of Antelope Valley. While at UAV, Pruitt led the Pioneers to a 2016-2017 California Pacific Conference Championship in the team's inaugural season. Pruitt also led the Pioneers to a win over Pepperdine University at Firestone Fieldhouse. The Pioneers finished the 2016-2017 season with a 19-7 record (11-3 in the CalPac Conference) with one All-American, two First Team All-Conference players, one Second Team All-Conference player, one Honorable Mention player, and the Defensive Player of the Year. Coach Pruitt was also fortunate to be honored as the CalPac Conference's Coach of the Year.

Before leading Antelope Valley, Pruitt spent three seasons as head coach of the Bethesda University Flames out of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) where he guided them to a record-breaking run during his tenure and a No. 8 ranking in the final NCCAA standings for the 2015-16 season.

While at Bethesda, Pruitt guided the Flames to consecutive NCCAA National Tournament appearances and was twice named NCCAA Western Region Coach of the Year. Pruitt's players also excelled in the classroom, with five members earning NCCAA Scholar-Athlete accolades.

Prior to joining Bethesda, the Leighton, Ala. native was an assistant men’s basketball coach at NCAA Division III California Institute of Technology where he helped recruit and secure one of the best recruiting classes in Caltech's history. Before moving to Southern California, Pruitt was a coach at the University School of Nova Southeastern University where he and his team finished the 2011-2012 season as Class 4A District Champions with the best record in school history (25-4) and ranked No. 1 in the state of Florida for eight-consecutive weeks.

Pruitt is a decorated athlete from Northwest Alabama where he was a standout basketball player and track star at Colbert County High School in Leighton. During his junior and senior years of high school he was the Alabama State High Jump Champion, and was also a member of the 1997 Alabama State Champion basketball team. After high school, Pruitt played junior college basketball at nationally-ranked John C. Calhoun Community College. During his sophomore campaign, the Warhawks won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Alabama State Championship and went on to play in the NJCAA National Championship game. He later signed with Division I Mississippi Valley State University where he played one season before ending his collegiate basketball career at Kentucky State University.

Coach Pruitt holds an Associate’s degree from John C. Calhoun, a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University, and a Master’s in Educational Technology from Nova Southeastern.

Before Pruitt professionally returned to the hardwood as a coach, he spent over a decade working in the media industry where he served as a manager, producer, editor, and videographer at various CBS, NBC, and ABC television affiliates. Coach Pruitt has applied this experience in the classroom by teaching diverse courses on digital journalism, media technology, communication, and sports marketing at local high schools and colleges.