David Niven begins his second season as the Union University men’s basketball head coach, and his 14th season with the Bulldog program. In his first two seasons at Union, Niven served as a volunteer assistant coach, and then became full-time in 1999. In 2003, Niven earned the position of associate head coach for the Union men’s basketball program and became head coach in 2009. He spent the 1996-97 season as an assistant coach at Oklahoma Baptist.
In his first season as head coach, Niven posted a 26-8 record overall and a 14-2 mark in the TranSouth. His team earned the conference regular season and tournament titles, and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament.
Niven is deeply committed to excellence both on and off the court. He aligns himself with the identity, mission and vision of Union in both his coaching and mentoring of his players. He is devoted to the development of his players physically, academically and spiritually.
“I feel a calling upon my life to fulfill the Great Commission as a college basketball coach”, says Niven. “I want to teach my players how to place their hope in eternal things and not the things of this world.”
Union president Dr. David S. Dockery says, “Dave has demonstrated over and over again his deep commitment to the identity, mission and vision of this university. His life exemplifies a ‘team above self’ mind set that will, I am sure, characterize in days ahead the attitude of his team both on and off the court.”
During his time at Union, Niven has assumed the responsibility of coordinating the recruiting efforts for the Bulldogs. He has recruited and signed numerous All-Americans, as well as, the 2002 NAIA Player of the Year. Niven has also signed eight players during his time as assistant coach that have gone on to play professional basketball in the United States and countries all over the world.
More importantly, the statistic he is most proud of is the 36 players that have graduated during his time as their academic advisor. “No coaching staff in the country will place more emphasis on the academic success of our players than we do here at Union”, says Niven. “Each player will have the commitment from our staff to prepare them for life after basketball.”
Niven, a 1996 graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, spent his playing career at OBU and finished with a four-year career record 121-24. In those four years, he played on teams that were ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, advanced to the NAIA National Championship game, and two Final Fours. He also became the first player to help lead the Bison to four consecutive national tournaments. While at OBU in 1997, as assistant coach for the Bison, Niven received his Master of Education degree from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. He received valuable coaching experience as the Bison went 36-4 and made it to the 1997 NAIA National Championship Finals.
Niven and his wife Mandy Beth have been married for six years. They have three children, Jacob (4), Zack (3) and Emma (1).
Lydic enters his first season as the assistant coach for the Union men's basketball program. Lydic came to Union after spending three seasons (2007-2010) as the assistant coach at Pearl River (Miss.) Community College.
Lydic, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., earned his degree in exercise science from Asbury (Ky.) College in 2000. Lydic started his coaching career at Asbury where he was the student assistant coach for the men’s basketball team during the 1999-2000 campaign.
After graduation, Lydic returned home to work as the administrative assistant for the men's basketball program at Colorado State University. In 2003-04, he was promoted to director of basketball operations at Colorado State. During the 2002-2003 season Colorado State won the Mountain West Conference Tournament and played in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
In 2004, Lydic started work as a graduate assistant at Valdosta (Ga.) State University where he earned his masters degree in Physical Education. He then moved to west Tennessee where he worked as the assistant coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin for one season. From 2007-10, Lydic was the assistant coach at Pearl River (Miss.) Community College. While at Pear River, the team won 61 games and Lydic was a key part of leading the team to the 2009-10 Mississippi JUCO State Championship with a 24-5 record.
Union head coach David Niven says, “Trevor brings passion and enthusiasm to his work here at Union. He is a tireless worker and has really raised the level of our individual workouts. Trevor really enjoys working with players to help them improve their skills on the floor and in their lives off of it. He shares my passion for seeing our players deepen their faith as they continue to grow in their personal relationships with Christ.”
Lydic also served as the head coach for Crossover Ministries and News Release Basketball summer traveling basketball teams that toured all across Europe.
Lydic is the son of Gary and Debi Lydic, who reside in Des Moines, Iowa.
Ben Easley begins his first season as an assistant coach for the Union University men’s basketball program. Easley came to Union after serving two seasons as an assistant coach for Lane (Tenn.) College.
Easley began his coaching career while attending the University of Kentucky as a scout member, film assistant, camp counselor/director, and middle school coach. As a middle school coach, Easley lead the lower-level to five winning seasons including a tournament runner-up and championship. He also assisted the upper-level to the same accomplishments from 1999-2003.
After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in Kinesiology and Health, Easley returned to Louisville, Ky. to pursue a high school teaching and coaching stint spanning five seasons with Derek Smith All-Stars AAU and various high schools in the area.
In 2008, Easley relocated to Jackson, Tenn. to serve as an assistant coach at Lane College. During those two seasons at Lane, Easley contributed to the Dragon’s conference tournament runner-up finish in 2009 and a two-year record of 38-20. During the summer of transition, Easley helped form an AAU team in Jackson called Jackson Elite. He led them to two first, second, and third place finishes during the 2010 summer AAU season.
Currently, Easley is the assistant director for Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo and Atlanta Dream’s Angel McCoughtry’s basketball camps hosted in Louisville, Ky.
Union head coach David Niven says, “Ben makes a great deal of sacrifices to help make our team better. He has already shown a passion for the game of basketball and our players. Ben is a good teacher as he works with both our guards and our post players in practice and individual workouts. We are blessed to have a coach of Ben’s caliber and background to be a part of our program.”
Easley earned his master’s degree from Union University in the summer of 2010 in Special Education.