Kyle Blankenship was named the second Head Coach on June 29, 2012, to lead the men’s basketball program since its reinstatement in 2003. He has led LSUS to the NAIA National Tournament in each of his three seasons at the helm, including a trip to the Fab Four in 2013. The Pilots have made 12 consecutive trips to the post-season party in Kansas City, Missouri, and currently hold the second longest active streak in the nation.
Blankenship steered the Pilots to the program’s 5th regular season conference championship in the 2013-14 season finishing with a 16-2 record in the Red River Athletic Conference giving the Pilots their first regular season title in the RRAC. He was selected as the 2014 RRAC Coach of the Year, while senior Brandon Davis was named the RRAC Player of the Year and garnered 1st Team NAIA All-America honors. In addition, senior Will Nelson was named the LSWA Newcomer of the Year and to the NAIA All-American Team as an honorable mention.
In just his first year (2012-2013) as the head coach 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).
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. In addition, junior Brandon Davis was the RRAC Newcomer of the Year, the LABC Small College Player of the year, and a 2nd Team NAIA All-American. The Pilots also led the nation in scoring during the 2012-13 season with an average of 91.5 PPG.
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.
BLANKENSHIP’S COLLEGIATE PLAYING RECORD
Year School Record
2001-02 Tulsa 27-7
2002-03 (RS) Tulsa 23-10
2003-04 Tulsa 9-20
2004-05 Tulsa 9-20
2005-06 LSUS 28-4
ASSISTANT COACHING RECORD
Year Position School Record
2007-08 Asst. Coach LSUS 31-3
2008-09 Asst. Coach LSUS 22-12
2009-10 Asst. Coach Lamar St. 20-11
2010-11 Asst. Coach Rogers St. 22-12
2011-12 Asst. Coach Rogers St. 24-9
HEAD COACHING RECORD
Year School Record Record
2012-13 LSUS 27-7 18-4
2013-14 LSUS 21-9 16-2
2014-15 LSUS 21-11 12-8
2015-16 LSUS 18-14 10-8
TOTAL 87-41 54-22
|1||Benjamin Batts||JR||G||6-2||Saginaw, Michigan||Texas Wesleyan University|
|2||Tyrell Springer||SR||G||6-2||Springfield, Massachusetts||Garden City Community College|
|3||Josh Walker||SR||G||6-0||Grant, Louisiana||Fairview High School|
|4||C. J. McGill||JR||G||5-9||Tampa, Florida||University of Mobile|
|10||Austin Helms||FR||G||5-7||Shreveport, Louisiana||Homeschool|
|11||Greg Pollins||SR||F||6-6||Texarkana, Texas||Bossier Parish Community College|
|12||Rashard Owens||SR||G||6-6||Bossier City, Louisiana||San Jacinto Community College|
|13||Uzonna Akazi||SR||F||6-8||Queens, New York||University of Pikeville|
|21||Anthony Walker, Jr.||JR||F||6-8||Dallas, Texas||Mountainview Community College|
|30||Malik Andrus||FR||G||6-2||Lafayette, Louisiana||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|33||David Holmes||SO||F||6-4||Shreveport, Louisiana||Bossier Parish Community College|
|20-10 (.667)||12-6 (.667)||Lost 4|