Vandal Men's Basketball Camps
Head Coach Don Verlin
Don Verlin joined the University of Idaho family as head coach of the Vandal men's basketball team in March 2008 and brought an immediate change to a struggling program.
In his three seasons with the Vandals, Verlin has led the team to 50 wins, two top-three Western Athletic Conference finishes, two CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournaments, a 2-3 record against Associate Press Top-25 opponents, and a 31-14 (.689) record in home games. Additionally, Verlin's players have earned four all-WAC honors and one NABC All-District honor, and five have gone on to play professionally.
Verlin's first year at Idaho saw the team earn one of the NCAA's top turnarounds. The Vandals hadn't produced a winning season in a decade and were picked to finish last in the WAC. Idaho went on to post a 17-16 record overall and a 9-7 WAC slate, finish third in the conference and earn its first postseason victory since 1982 at the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The team had a nine-win improvement and an RPI jump of 164 places.
In his second season at Idaho, the Vandals went 15-16 overall, picked up their first victory over a ranked opponent in nearly 30 years, won games at Utah, Seattle University and North Dakota State for the first time in school history and posted the biggest road win in the Idaho-Boise State rivalry series.
Verlin's third season in 2010-11, Idaho went 18-14 overall and again took third in the WAC with a 9-7 record. The Vandals qualified for postseason play a second time in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, put two players on the all-WAC squad and posted a second-straight win over a ranked opponent.
Idaho's 24 WAC wins in three seasons under Verlin are more than triple the team's conference win total of the previous three seasons, and his 50 victories are more than the previous six seasons at Idaho, combined. Before Verlin, Idaho hadn't beaten a ranked opponent since 1982, but the Vandals have two ranked wins in the last two seasons. He's also the first Idaho coach since Larry Eustachy (1990-93) to reach 50 victories in just three seasons.
Since Verlin took over for the 2008-09 season, Idaho's average final RPI ranking is 150, with a high of 135 and two years in the top 150 overall. In the previous seven seasons of Vandal basketball, Idaho didn't crack the top 150 once and had an average final ranking of 270th in the rating system.
Also noteworthy under Verlin is that Idaho is 3-0 on Senior Night, 3-0 in home openers, 2-1 in WAC openers and 12-1 in games played at Memorial Gym. Idaho's 101-47 win over UC Irvine on Nov. 28, 2008 is the team's largest ever over an NCAA Division I opponent, its 77-47 win over Louisiana Tech on Dec. 31, 2010 is the team's largest over a WAC opponent, and its 79-55 victory at Boise State on Feb. 6, 2010 is the team's largest WAC road win.
Verlin also helped improve the culture of the program off the court by spearheading the Readers As Leaders program and participating in the YES Clinic. Readers As Leaders became a very successful program in its first year as the entire Idaho basketball program helped Moscow's elementary-aged children find joy in reading. Since its inception, the total number of school and student participation in the program has increased significantly every year. Nine area elementary schools and more than 2,000 students participated in the program in 2010-11. The staff also has volunteered with NCAA coaches from around the country in the YES Clinic at the Final Four where they had the opportunity to provide instruction to the children of Detroit.
Prior to coming to Idaho, Verlin was the longest tenured assistant coach in Utah State history and had been with Aggie head coach Stew Morrill for 15 years, which includes their time together at Colorado State University in the four years before Morrill was hired at Utah State. The offensive guru for the Aggies, Verlin was a key component in Utah State's nine successive post-season appearances and nine-successive 20-plus-win seasons. The Aggies were among the best shooting teams in the nation throughout his tenure. They led the NCAA in field goal percentage in 2005 and ranked in the top five nationally in four of his final five seasons with the team.
"Don has been with me 15 years and it's always tough to see someone go when they've been with you that long," Morrill said in a statement released by the school. "I am very happy for him and his family. He will be a terrific head coach and we will miss having him as part of our program. Even though we will be competing in the same league, Don will always be family and that will never change."
Prior to Utah State, Verlin spent two tenures at Colorado State, as he was an assistant at CSU during the 1992 season before moving to Cal State Bakersfield for the 1993 and 1994 seasons. During his two seasons as an assistant in California, Cal State Bakersfield won back-to-back NCAA Division II national championships.
Verlin returned to Colorado State ahead of the 1995 season and then spent the next four seasons in Fort Collins. Prior to his first stint at Colorado State, Verlin was an assistant at Columbia (Calif.) Junior College from 1989-91. Columbia posted an 81-23 record in his three years there and won two conference championships.
Verlin, 45, graduated from Cal State Stanislaus with a degree in physical education in 1991. He earned a master's degree in education from Colorado State in 1993.
Born June 15, 1965 at Roseville, Calif., Verlin graduated from Del Oro High School at Loomis, Calif. He and his wife, the former Serena Shumway, have one son, Jacob, and one daughter, Sydnee. He also has a twin brother (Ron) who is an assistant basketball coach at Pacific.
Assistant Coach Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman is in his fifth season as part of the Idaho men’s basketball program and his fourth as an assistant coach.
Freeman arrived at Idaho in 2007 and served as the Director of Men’s Basketball Operations for the 2007-08 season. He was promoted to assistant coach in 2008 as part of head coach Don Verlin’s first coaching staff at Idaho.
Freeman’s responsibilities include emphasis on post play and player development, as well as monitoring the academic progress of the players. In his three seasons as an assistant under Verlin, he has helped 10 Idaho student-athletes earn their degrees from Idaho and move on to successful post-collegiate careers.
Freeman came to Idaho from Lambuth University at Jackson, Tenn., where he was an assistant coach during the 2006-07 season. The team was ranked in the top 10 for 12 consecutive weeks, reaching as high as fourth in the country, and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament. He coached the Basketball Times NAIA Player of the Year in Ivan Jenkins, who was the second overall pick in the 2007 CBA Draft.
Freeman graduated from Iowa in 2006 with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Sports Studies. He also earned a certificate in Entrepreneurship. While at Iowa, he was the student manager for the men’s basketball team from 2001-2006 during which time the Hawkeyes earned trips to three NITs and two NCAA Tournaments. In 2005-06, Iowa earned a 25-9 overall record, which was the second-most wins in school history. The team also finished undefeated at home for the first time in school history at 17-0 and earned a No. 3 seed at the NCAA Tournament.
He originally is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Assistant Coach Tim Murphy
Tim Murphy is in his second season as an Idaho assistant after joining the Vandals in September 2010. In his first season with the Vandals, he helped develop Kyle Barone, a WAC honorable mention selection.
Murphy brings 28 years of NCAA basketball coaching experience to the Vandal program. His most recent coaching stop before Idaho was as an assistant with Cal Poly from 2001-09. Murphy’s primary responsibility at Idaho is post player development, as well as recruiting, scouting and scheduling.
In addition to his eight seasons at Cal Poly, Murphy also served as associate head coach at St. Mary’s for four seasons from 1997-2001. He also worked three years at Cal State San Bernardino, eight years at UC Irvine over two separate occasions, one year at Pacific Lutheran and two seasons at Colorado State.
Murphy’s has a strong record of individual player development throughout his career. He has coached six athletes who went on to NBA careers and 12 more who played professionally overseas.
In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Murphy also served as head coach of the Western Samoa National Team in 1993 and led the country to its first and only gold medal at the Oceania Championships, which includes Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
“Tim does an excellent job of developing our front line players, as well as bringing a fresh look to our offense,” Idaho head coach Don Verlin said about Murphy. “His personality and experience have been a great addition to an already great staff here at Idaho.”
Murphy was a letter winner from 1982-83 at Colorado State University and earned his degree from CSU in 1983 in Speech Communication. He and his wife, Sheri, have two daughters, Taylor and Ashley.
Assistant Coach Chris Helbling
Chris Helbling is in his fourth season as Idaho’s Director of Men’s Basketball Operations. He joined the team in 2008.
While at Idaho, Helbling’s duties have included organizing team travel, video exchange, video editing, budget management and other administrative duties. He is also responsible for assisting head coach Don Verlin in a variety of fundraising and community service projects.
He helps oversee the Readers as Leaders program, a community-involvement program that encourages reading among elementary school students. The program reached nine schools and more than 2,000 students in 2011 and was recognized in an ESPN feature. He oversees the Round Ball Booster Club, which helped fund locker room improvements and other team expenses. Helbling serves as the camp director for the Don Verlin Basketball Camps and manages the Bob White Memorial Golf Tournament, a fundraiser that supports post-eligibility aid for student-athletes.
Helbling came to Idaho after spending two seasons at Gonzaga where he served as a student assistant for the Bulldogs from 2006-08. During his time at Gonzaga, the Bulldogs compiled an overall record of 48-19 and won two West Coast Conference championships. The team also made two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Before his time at Gonzaga, Helbling was an assistant coach at Walla Walla Community College during the 2005-06 season after a back injury ended his playing career. His responsibilities with the Warriors included recruiting, player development, fundraising, and game preparations. During his three years as a player and coach with WWCC, the Warriors earned a 50-34 overall record and made two trips to the NWAACC tournament where they finished fourth in 2004. During the 2003-04 season, WWCC was ranked as high as No. 2 in the NWAACC Coaches Poll.
Helbling graduated with honors from Gonzaga in 2008 with a degree in Physical Education. He earned his master's degree from Idaho in 2010 in Leadership in Sports and Recreation. He graduated from Moscow High School in 2003 and was a four-year letterwinner in basketball and baseball.
Director of Player Development Kirk Earlywine
Kirk Earlywine joined Idaho in 2012-13 as the team’s Director of Player Development. A 26-year college coaching veteran, Earlywine will help with individual skills development, film study and analysis and the planning of workouts and drills.
Before joining the Vandals, Earlywine was the head coach at Eastern Washington University for four years from 2007-11, during which time he registered a 42-78 record. In his time at EWU, the Eagles had a 964 APR score and a 100-percent graduation rate. His 2010-11 Eagle squad qualified for the Big Sky Tournament for the first time in five years, despite starting the season as one of the youngest teams in the country.
Earlywine also has a head coaching stop at Division II Pfeiffer University, which he led to a 21-8 overall record and a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the team’s first season at the D-II level.
His assistant coaching experience started in 1985-87 at Campbell University, where he was a student assistant. He was an assistant under head coach Rick Majerus for seven years at Ball State (1987-89) and Utah (1989-93) and was associate head coach at Weber State from 1999-06. In his time at WSU, the Wildcats led the Big Sky Conference with 116 victories, including a 2003 Big Sky title and NCAA Tournament bid.
Earlywine also held assistant positions at Central Michigan (1993-95), UW-Milwaukee (1996-99) and UNC Wilmington (2006-07). Earlywine spent the 2011-12 season doing television play-by-play and color commentary for men’s basketball games.
Earlywine is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Campbell University in 1987.
Director of Operations Curtis Carlson
Carlson joined Idaho basketball as Director of Operations in 2012 after a successful four-year collegiate playing career and two years as a coach.
His duties at Idaho will include team travel, player development, fundraising, film exchange, management of the team’s Readers as Leaders program and community involvement, as well as other administrative duties.
Carlson came to Idaho from his alma mater, McLoughlin High School at Milton-Freewater, Ore., where he was head coach in 2011-12. He coached two all-league players and doubled the number of participants in the program in his one year with the team.
In 2009-10, he was an assistant coach at Walla Walla Community College, where he helped manage team travel, player development, fundraising and recruiting. The Warriors went 22-6 overall and 11-3 in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) to claim the East Region title.
An All-Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) selection in 2008-09, Carlson led the Sea Lions with 16.0 points and 7.7 rebounds. As a junior in 2007-08, he averaged 12 points and six rebounds per game.
He started his career at WWCC, where he earned First-Team All-East Region honors as a freshman. As a sophomore in 2006-07, he led WWCC to a school-record 25 wins and an East Region title He was named the NWAACC Most Valuable Player after leading the league with a 23.4 scoring average on 66.1 percent shooting and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Carlson is originally from Milton-Freewater, Ore. He was an all-league player at McLoughlin High School after averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds as a senior in 2005. He is a 2009 graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.