Travillian reflects on successful career

Many coaches aim to break records within their career, but for Maryville College’s head women’s basketball coach Darrin Travillian, it is a humbling experience.

Clutching win 131 Feb. 6 against Averett University, Travillian credits the many alumni who have performed so highly throughout his years of coaching at MC.

On Jan. 30, Travillian tied Wes Moore’s 129-win total, defeating Greensboro College at home 77-49. Feb. 5 Travillian broke Wes Moore’s win total by putting Ferrum College away 63-46. The following day the No. 12 Scots sailed over Averett University 87-57 to put win 131 under Travillian’s belt.

The sixth-year head coach broke this record in a shorter time than Moore—now the head coach at North Carolina State University—winning his 129th win in only 159 games. It took Moore 163.

Travillian has led the Scots to the NCAA Tournament in each of the previous four seasons. Before his personal coaching career had begun, Travillian credits Rick Pitino, current head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, and Phil Jackson, a former coach and player and current president of the New York Knicks, as major influences towards his coaching style.

“[Pitino] was a major influence on everything we do offensively, defensively, individual workouts. All those kinds of things. Another coach that I always admired was Phil Jackson,” said Travillian.

“A lot of that came from Phil Jackson’s ability to try to coach the whole player and try to understand the mindset. It was not so much on the x’s and o’s side, as it was understanding the whole person and getting coaching from that perspective.”

In each of his prior five seasons, Travillian has tallied 20-plus wins, tying Moore for the most 20-win campaigns in MC history. The Chicago native is only four wins away from breaking that record by the end of the 2015-2016 season.

But Travillian’s addition to the MC family was a matter of luck.

“I ended up making the move here because my wife accepted a position at the University of Tennessee in the English department and that is how our family made the move to Tennessee,” said Travillian.

Travillian became the women’s assistant coach during the 2008-2009 season. Two years later he was named head coach of the Lady Scots.

Prior to joining the Scots, Travillian was a high school coach for 13 years. Travillian began his coaching career at the Sayre School where he served as a varsity assistant for three seasons before being named the girls’ varsity head coach. He helped lead the Spartans to their 42nd District title in 1997. Travillian then served as an assistant for Kentucky High School Hall-of-Fame coach Kirk Chiles at Henry Clay High School.

Following a move back to the Chicagoland area, Travillian took over the girls’ varsity basketball program at Downers Grove North High School. In his first season, he led the team to a fourteen-game turnaround and their first-ever appearance in both the Chicago Sun-Times’ and Daily Herald’s “Top 20” rankings. His Trojans were among the top defensive teams in the area, holding opponents to under 36 points per game while forcing close to 20 turnovers per game.

Travillian is a 1996 alumnus of the University of Kentucky with a degree in Secondary English Education. He also holds a master of arts in School Leadership and Administration from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. At UK, he served as a student-assistant with the women’s basketball team where he helped with individual workouts, film breakdown, practice and game preparation.

With the new record being set each win, Travillian speaks on a few memorable wins throughout his career at MC:

“CJ’s senior year we won the conference tournament at LaGrange. That one was really sweet because it was against LaGrange who everyone knows is a rival of ours and doing it there made it really special,” said Travillian “It was the last year we were in the Great South conference and we wanted to win that last one. We did not know at the time that it was going to be against them, but that made that win very special.”

Travillian also referred to the first NCAA tournament that he coached the Lady Scots through.

“We won at DePauw, we beat Otterbein that year and it was a really good game,” Travillian said. “We got in as an at-large bid, so we didn’t even know if we were going to get in. So to get in and go in and win it made that one really awesome.”

No. 15 Maryville continued its conference domination with a rout of Piedmont Wednesday and Covenant Saturday to clinch their fourth consecutive USA South regular season title. However, Coach Travillian and the Scots have one more barrier to surmount, having come up just shy of the Conference Tournament Championship three years in a row.

This year, The Scots will host the tournament at Maryville’s Boydson Baird Gymnasium. The first round will be on Thursday, Feb. 25 with games at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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