Team preview: Southeast Missouri State

Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 24, 2006, 2:48 PM ET
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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

COACH AND PROGRAM

First impressions, as Scott Edgar attests, "can be everlasting."

Edgar's first exposure to Southeast Missouri's program was nearly 15 years ago, when he was in his initial season at Murray State.

"We had a two-game lead [in the OVC race] with two games to play, and we lost," Edgar said. "It was a great atmosphere, a tough place to win. After that, I always felt that with their facilities, fan support and location, that if any program could unseat Murray, that was it."

Edgar moved to Duquesne in 1995, then went on to become an assistant at TCU under Billy Tubbs before rejoining old friend (and fellow former Arkansas assistant Mike Anderson) at UAB.

After helping Bruce Pearl spark a revival at Tennessee last season, Edgar's recollection of Southeast Missouri weighed heavily in his decision to pursue the job last spring. His history of success in the OVC was a big reason he was tabbed to revive the Redhawks' sagging fortunes.

In four seasons at Murray (1991-95), Edgar won three conference regular-season titles and made a couple of NCAA Tournament appearances. In his tenure, the Racers were 56-16 in conference play, a rate of success he would love to duplicate at Southeast Missouri.

However, he inherits a program mired in a downward spiral since reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2000. Other than advancing to the OVC Tournament semifinals in 2005, the last six seasons under Gary Garner were lackluster, culminating in the last year's next-to-last-place finish and failure to reach the OVC Tournament.

Edgar will get his chance to put an immediate stamp on the program. His arrival signals a dramatic change in style for the Redhawks -- Garner employed the triangle offense and emphasized half-court defense while Edgar will use the intense, full-court, pressure-oriented style he learned as Nolan Richardson's top assistant at Arkansas.

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