Kyle Blankenship was named the second Head Coach on June 29, 2012, to lead the men’s basketball program since its reinstatement in 2003. In just his first year (2012-2013) at the helm of the Pilots program, he took the squad to uncharted postseason waters by reaching the NAIA Fab Four for the first time in school history.
The Pilots finished Blankenship’s inaugural season ranked no. 4 in the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Final Coaches' Top 25 poll after their remarkable run in Kansas City. LSUS dished out three consecutive upsets in the national tournament, eliminating eighth-seeded Pikeville (91-87), ninth-seeded Evangel (Mo.) (77-70), and the no. 1 overall seed and then unbeaten Columbia (Mo.) (79-78) in the Pilots’ ninth consecutive trip to the NAIA post season party.
Even after the final buzzer sounded on the 2012-13 season, LSU Shreveport's name was still mentioned on the final day of the Buffalo Funds-NAIA National Tournament. Recognized for their outstanding display of character and sportsmanship throughout the entire National Tournament, the Pilots claimed the Dr. James Naismith-Emil S. Liston Team Sportsmanship Award. In addition, Coach Blankenship was recognized with the Charles A. Krigel Award which is presented to the coach of the squad that earns the Naismith-Liston Sportsmanship Award for his leadership to his team.
Following his first season as a head coach, Blankenship was named the 2013 Louisiana Small College Coach of the Year by his peers and the members of the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches. He was also a finalist for the Don Meyer National Coach of the Year Award.
Blankenship came to LSUS after serving as the top assistant for two seasons at Rogers State University, where he helped lead the Hillcats to back-to-back appearances in the Elite Eight of the NAIA National Tournament. Rogers State reached the 20-win plateau both years, while finishing each season ranked in the Top 25.
Prior to Rogers State, Blankenship coached one season at Lamar State College – Port Arthur. In his lone year as an assistant, he helped guide the Seahawks to a record-breaking season, including a school-record 20 wins and a second place finish in the South Division of the Texas Eastern Conference (Region XIV).
The Shreveport native is no stranger to LSU Shreveport basketball. He began his coaching career at LSUS, while also playing one season as he finished his playing career in 2006 for the Pilots. As a player and coach Blankenship helped the Pilots to a 106-27 overall record, two regular season Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) titles, four consecutive GCAC Tournament championships (2006-2009) and four straight NAIA National Tournament appearances (2006-2009).
Blankenship guided the Pilots offense to a record-breaking season and a No. 1 national ranking in his final season as a player in 2005-06. He finished his career at LSUS as the school’s single-season assists leader (199) and single-game assists record holder (14), while leading the nation in assists-to-turnover ratio.
He began his playing career at The University of Tulsa in 2001 where he was a team captain, three-year letter winner and a member of two Western Athletic Conference championship teams that made two consecutive appearances in the second round of the NCAA Tournament (2002 and 2003).
Blankenship was a standout high school player at C.E. Byrd High School from 1997-2001, playing all four seasons for former LSUS Head Coach Chad McDowell. Blankenship was a two-time All-City selection as a junior and a senior, while earning All-State honors as a senior.
Blankenship earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from The University of Tulsa in 2006.
|0||Josh Walker||FR||G||6-0||Fairview, Louisiana||Fairview High School|
|1||Mark Politte||SR||G||6-2||Houston, Texas||University of the Incarnate Word|
|4||Joseph James||JR||G||5-7||Bossier City, Louisiana||Bossier Parish Community College|
|5||Dundrecous Nelson||SR||G||6-1||Jackson, Mississippi||Jackson State University|
|10||Brandon Davis||SR||F||6-3||Pomona, California||San Jacinto Junior College|
|12||Tevin Hall||SR||G||6-1||Bossier City, Louisiana||Louisiana Tech University|
|13||Will Nelson||SR||F||6-6||Port Allen, Louisiana||Texas A&M - Corpus Christi|
|20||Dimitri Smith||JR||F||6-4||Castor, Louisiana||Bossier Parish Community College|
|22||Tony Freeland||SR||F||6-8||Los Angeles, California||Long Beach State University|
|23||Breion Beaver||JR||G||6-0||Zwolle, Louisiana||Panola Junior College|
|30||Chris Mitchell||SO||G||5-10||Natchitoches, Louisiana||Natchitoches Central High School|
|31||Andrew Latson||FR||G||6-2||Bossier City, Louisiana||Airline High School|
|32||Dominic Dennis||SR||F||6-3||Franklin, Louisiana||Bossier Parish Community College|
|33||Kenny Stewart||JR||F||6-7||Williamsport, Pennsylvania||Eastern Michigan University|
|42||Daniel Temple||SR||G||6-1||Many, Louisiana||Louisiana Tech University|
|44||C. J. Hyslop||SO||F||6-6||Tulsa, Oklahoma||Rogers State University|
|21-9 (.700)||16-2 (.889)||Lost 2|