Steve Hardin is in his third season as the head men’s basketball coach at Lees-McRae College.
Up tempo is a good term to describe Lees-McRae Head Coach Steven Hardin on and off the court. He has the reputation from his peers as a tireless worker and relentless recruiter. His passion for the student-athlete perfectly mirrors the Bobcat Athletics’ drive for comprehensive excellence – academically, athletically and socially. Expect Hardin’s program to excel in all aspects of the student-athlete experience. His focus is on finding “winning guys” on and off the court.
“Steve is one of the best up and coming young coaches in our business. I have known Steve since I first got into coaching at Tennessee Tech University. He is a great recruiter and an outstanding coach. I have always loved his competitive energy and spirit about the game. He is a family man and has great leadership qualities to be a successful coach. Lees-McRae has a great one in Steve Hardin.” - Orlando G.G. Smith (Head Coach, Loyola University)
"Steve has the coaching gene in his blood being the son of a coach. I saw first hand at Tennessee Tech his passion for the game. There was no doubt that this profession would be his destiny."- Jeff Lebo (Head Coach, East Carolina)
“Coach Hardin is a tireless worker who has the best interest of the student athletes in mind. He recruits high character and talented players that will succeed on and off the floor.”- Scott Cherry (Head Coach, High Point University, 1993 National Champion for UNC)
“Coach Hardin eats, sleeps, and lives basketball. He’s a hustler on the recruiting trail and as the son of a high school coach he’s extremely detailed on the X’s & O’s of the game.”- Jason Allison (Recruiting Coordinator/Assistant Coach, Appalachian State University, former Lees-McRae assistant coach)
“Coach Hardin will do a tremendous job bringing the passion and “fire” to Lees-McRae basketball through his work ethic and energy; He is an extremely hard worker on the court and on the recruiting trail.”- Will Wade (Head Coach, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga)
" I've known Steve for over 20 years and is a guy I grew up playing with, his dad helped teach the game to all of us in high school. He is a guy I respect immensely and proud to call a friend. Lees McRae is lucky to have him as their head coach"- Micheal Morrell (VCU assistant coach/recruiting coordinator)
Coach Hardin’s coaching philosophy and brand for the Lees-McRae Bobcat Basketball team is “FIRE”, which simply means Fearless Intense Relentless Effort. Fans can expect an up-tempo, in-your-face game from Hardin and his players, as he wants to create consistent confusion in his fusion defense. Coach Hardin’s teams will have an identity with “FIRE” that can be an exciting brand of basketball for both the school and the fans.
2013-2014 season under Hardin brought twelve new faces to the team. The Bobcats started off the season with the best record start in school history at 6-2 and 3-1 mark vs region contenders out of the South Atlantic Conference. Under Coach Hardin's FIRE system the team averaged 81 points per contest, shot 780 Free throws (No. 1 in Conference Carolinas and No. 41 NCAA) at 72.6%, 9.6 steals per game (No. 1 in Conference Carolinas and No. 36 NCAA). Jacquise Moore (Concord, N.C.) lead the conference carolina's in steals 2.3 per contest. Mike Chambers (Winston Salem, N.C.) lead the bobcats in scoring 18.6 points per game and fifth overall in Conference Carolina. A balanced scoring attack lead the Bobcats with posting five players averaging over 10 points per game.
The Bobcats posted a combined grade point average of 3.0 as a team in Coach Hardin’s first year at the helm, graduating eight seniors. Illawong, Australia native Daniel Sepokas ranked eighth in the conference in scoring to lead the Bobcats.
Prior to being named the head coach, served as the top assistant during the last two seasons, helping guide the Bobcats to the program's best league record since joining Conference Carolinas with an 8-8 mark.
Under Hardin’s guidance, the Bobcats put together perhaps the best start to the conference season in school history in 2011-2012, posting a 3-1 mark through the first four games of the league slate last season. Hardin has mentored a pair of all-conference performers during his tenure at Lees-McRae, including 2011-2012 third team selection Jeremiah Henry.
Hardin joined the Bobcats during the 2010-2011 season following a successful stint at Bluefield College in Bluefield, Va. as the head women’s basketball coach. During his three-year tenure at Bluefield, Hardin earned Appalachian Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors while leading the Rams to their highest finish in the AAC standings.
Under Hardin's leadership, the Rams were ranked in the NAIA for the first time in school history and also earned the program's first AAC Champions of Character award in 2010, while holding a No. 3 ranking in the NCCAA throughout the season and earning the school's first-ever berth in the NCCAA Tournament.
During the 2009-2010 season, the Rams also posted the best record in program history with a 25-10 overall mark that tops school history wins for a season. All of these accomplishments occurred in just two years as Hardin took over the program which had posted two wins the previous season, compiling a 40-26 record while at the helm.
Hardin played an integral role as the associate head coach with the men's basketball program at Bluefield, helping the Rams to three straight NAIA Tournament appearances with a squad that posted a combined 92-41 record over that span.
Bluefield claimed three straight AAC championships during Hardin's tenure while ranking eighth in the NAIA national poll, marking the first appearance in the top 10 in school history. The Rams led the nation in a multitude of statistical categories while Hardin was on the sidelines, topping the NAIA ranks in both scoring offense (91.4) and total blocks (171) in 2008-2009 while leading the nation in rejections per game (6.9) in 2005-2006.
While at Bluefield, Hardin recruited and coached 18 all-Appalachian Athletic Conference players, three AAC Defensive Players of the Year, four AAC Offensive Players of the Year, 14 NCCAA All-Americans, five NAIA All-Americans, seven NAIA Academic All-Americans, and two AAC Players of the Year.
Prior to his appointment as the head women’s coach at Bluefield, Hardin served as the associate head men’s basketball coach, junior varsity basketball coach, and head men’s golf coach at the Bluefield, Va. school from 2005-2008.
Hardin entered the coaching ranks as a student assistant with the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech. While at Tennessee Tech, Hardin was part of back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference championship squads and a quarterfinal finish in the NIT. The Golden Eagles posted a 47-16 overall record and a 28-4 mark in the OVC.
The Elizabethton, Tenn. native has coached 18 players that have played and/or still playing professional basketball with one playing in the National Basketball Association’s D-League.
Hardin is following in the footsteps of his father, Tony Hardin, a former high school coach in Tennessee for over 30 years. Prior to Tennessee Tech, Hardin served as an assistant coach with his father, who owns a career record of 520-290.
Hardin is married to the former Tanika Andrews, a teacher in Bristol, Tenn. They are the proud parents of Lyla Gail Hardin and Campbell Steven Hardin. The Hardin family resides in Elizabethton, Tenn.