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VIProfile: Nick McDevitt

By Lee Rennick

After three years of work rebuilding Middle Tennessee State University’s (MTSU) Men’s Basketball team after coach Kermit Davis left and wading through a pandemic, all Nick McDevitt’s hard work has paid off. Last year, he led his team to winning the Eastern Division of Conference USA. And, he’s excited about this year.

“I find guys who get basketball, are self-motivated and competitive,” said McDevitt. “College basketball is very competitive. You need to surround yourself with winners who love the process, [and] work well with other people. The best players … [find] joy in doing with others, they have the most success. I harness the qualities that are already there.”

He learned all about basketball and success from his father and his college coach, Eddie Biedenbach, of University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA). And, coming from UNCA, he has long bled blue. 

“I grew up playing sports,” explained McDevitt, “baseball, football and basketball. I was an active child. I came from an athletic family. My father played all three sports and so did my uncle, my father’s brother. I followed in their footsteps and as I got older I found I liked basketball the best and wanted to continue.”

McDevitt excelled in the sport in high school. “[He] enjoyed a standout career at Madison High School (MHS) in Marshall,” according to “He was the starting point guard for the Patriots for three seasons and led the 2-A school to three straight conference championships and two regional appearances. McDevitt averaged 17 points and 10 assists his senior year and earned all-region honors by the Asheville Citizen-Times. In addition, he is Madison’s all-time leader in assists and steals.”

After graduating from MHC, he went on to UNCA where several members of his family had gone. While there, he played basketball four years for Biedenbach. The website tells of how McDevitt was a four-year letterman for the Bulldogs from 1997 through 2001…His playing time increased steadily during his career as he became a key player for UNC Asheville off the bench in the 2000-01 season. He was fifth on the team in three-pointers made with 11, and led the team by shooting 52% from long distance.

He received a Bachelor’s Degree in History. His plan had been to teach high school history and coach high school basketball with the goal of working his way up to a position as a head coach at the collegiate level. 

“Very few people get the chance to get their dream job right out of college,” said McDevitt. 
In 2001, he same year that McDevitt graduated from UNCA, Biedenbach had several assistant coaches leave for other positions, so he immediately appointed McDevitt to his coaching staff. He served as an assistant coach for 10 seasons before being elevated to Associate Head Coach in 2011. When Biedenbach left for another job, McDevitt took on the position of head coach stepping into his mentor’s shoes. He stayed at UNCA for five years, his final year, the team won the Big South Conference championship. 

After 16 years at UNCA, McDevitt decided it was time to take on a new position at a new school. He had caught the eye of MTSU’s Athletic Director Chris Massaro at a shootout in Alaska. 

The “Daily News Journal” noted in an article, “Kermit told me, they did a great job and Nick’s a great coach,” Massaro recalled during a discussion with former head coach Kermit Davis. “’That’s a good win for us, Chris.’ That kind of stuck in my head.” 

“I liked that [MTSU] is not too far from Asheville,” said McDevitt. “I knew the program, the school, the area and the league. It was an opportunity to play at a higher level. I wanted to take on a new challenge. So, we moved the family to Murfreesboro.” 

Having scored on the field and in the classroom while he was in college, McDevitt makes a point of coaching his team both on and off the field. He had great mentors, and tries to be a mentor to his players. 

“One day the ball will stop bouncing,” noted McDevitt. “I want to prepare my players for the future. Lots have pro-ball aspirations. For some, that will not be a reality. I want them to be prepared for a different avenue. I want them to have quality options. Middle allows them to not only compete at a higher level, but gives them what they need to succeed in the business world.”

Beginning at four or five years of age, McDevitt’s father was his first mentor. He was not only his dad, but he was also his little league coach, football coach and he took him to all of his basketball camps. McDevitt still looks to his father for advice. 

After leaving home, Biedenbach became a mentor, as a player and in the world of coaching. He showed McDevitt the ropes, providing lessons through experience on how to guide a program. Learning from Biedenbach, McDevitt tries to lead his players by example. He tells his kids to not get caught up in what they cannot control, but to focus on what they can control. To put out their best effort and their best attitude at all times. He tries to stay on an even keel for them. 

He also gets his players involved in the community. MTSU basketball runs a summer camp for young players, as well as helping other sports-related nonprofits run their camps. 

“We were just involved in reading in the schools at Black Fox Elementary,” added McDevitt.
McDevitt was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and raise about 15 minutes away in Marshal. He is married to Lauren and they have two children, Cooper who is eight and Katie who is four. 

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