Pourchier’s hire was confirmed by the Marietta university on Tuesday, part of a flurry of personnel moves at Southern Poly.
He replaces Tommy Dillon, an assistant who served the last season in an interim capacity as head coach, following the departure of former coach Jeffrey Jones.
Pourchier will be inheriting a Runnin’ Hornets team that went 24-6, reached the second round of the NAIA Division I tournament and finished the season ranked 11th in the coaches’ poll.
With Pourchier’s departure, Reinhardt has begun its search for a new coach, and athletic spokesman Steve Ruthsatz said Tuesday that the university hopes to have a hire in place by “mid-July or early August.”
In his last three seasons at Reinhardt, an NAIA Division II program, Pourchier coached the Eagles to winning records in each season, with two appearances in the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament. Last season, Reinhardt finished 18-12, with an 11-5 mark in the AAC.
Reinhardt came within one game of playing in the NAIA tournament, but it lost by two points to Tennessee Wesleyan in the AAC tournament championship.
However, more than wins and losses, Pourchier was most proud of what he was able to get his players to accomplish off the court.
“I had five or six kids graduate that it was their first time for them that someone in their family had graduated with a college degree,” he said. “For (those families) to see that is huge. We had a lot more than six graduate, but they were the six that were first in their family to graduate.”
Graduation, and an emphasis on academics, has been a fixture of Pourchier’s time spent as coach.
“I think, when you recruit kids, every kid wants to go play at the next level,” he said. “You’re getting your school paid for, though, so you have to get those kids to understand that, while they are here, they have to graduate.”
More than just stressing the importance of earning a college degree, Pourchier said that he took pleasure in seeing his players walk across the stage on graduation day.
“The most enjoyable thing to me was graduating these kids — to see the parents’ looks on their faces, to see the looks on their faces as the kids graduate from college,” he said. “Not just those kids, but all of the kids. The thrill I get out of that is huge.”
On the court, Reinhardt did a bit of graduating as well during Pourchier’s time as coach.
In the two seasons before Pourchier’s arrival at the Waleska school prior to the 2007-08 season, the Eagles finished 22-39 overall, winning just seven games in conference play each season.
At the start of Pourchier’s tenure, things got off to a rocky start. The Eagles finished 8-22 in 2007-08, but then improved slightly to 9-21 the next season.
Reinhardt, however, rattled off three winning seasons in a row, starting in 2009-10. Over the last two seasons, the Eagles reached the AAC conference title game, but fell short each time.
During his time on the court, Pourchier has stressed playing an up-tempo game, pushing the floor in transition offensively and putting high pressure on opposing offenses. He stressed making every opponent work hard.
“The No. 1 thing about our team is that, when they get done, I want them to say we play extremely hard and get after you from the time the ball tips off to when it ends,” Pourchier said. “I want them to feel like they’ve been in a battle. That’s probably the biggest thing. I think they did that last year.”
After playing at LaGrange College, he spent two years as an assistant at Southern Poly, where he earned his master’s degree in 2005. He ultimately followed Southern Poly’s then-coach, Mike Helfer, to Valdosta State and helped the Blazers go 37-19 in NCAA Division II play.
Now, Pourchier’s coaching career has come full circle, but Reinhardt was the one that gave him his first chance as head coach, something he won’t forget about.
“I really appreciate Reinhardt for giving me my start up there as a head coach,” he said.