Bart Lundy turned down one opportunity to become a head coach again this offseason to stay with longtime friend Tony Benford at North Texas.
The second chance Lundy received was far too tempting for him and his family to pass up.
Lundy confirmed Monday night that he will be named the head coach at Queens, a Division II school in Charlotte, N.C., this week.
Lundy launched his career as a head coach at Queens in 1998 and posted a 115-41 record in five seasons before jumping to Division I High Point.
Lundy has four children ages 8 to 16 who live part time in High Point, N.C., which is just over an hour’s drive from Charlotte.
Lundy turned down a chance to become the head coach at Clayton State in Morrow, Ga., just a few weeks ago.
“It had to be the right fit,” Lundy said. “I was less concerned about coaching in Division I or Division II than I was in getting closer to my boys. I worked for the president and the athletic director at Queens.”
While Lundy spent just one season at UNT, he made a significant impact on the program while helping Benford make the transition to becoming a head coach for the first time.
Benford called Lundy a friend and said that he hated to see him leave, but also that he understood that it was the best decision for him and his family.
Lundy will take over for Wes Long, who left Queens after last season to become an assistant coach at Chattanooga.
“It’s a great opportunity for him,” Benford said. “He will do a great job for them. We hate to see him go because he was good with the guys and did a tremendous job for us. I was very fortunate to get Bart to come here with me from Marquette.”
Lundy was highly successful during his first stint at Queens, leading the Royals to the round of eight twice and the Final Four in 2003. Spencer Ross was named the Division II Player of the Year in 2003 before Lundy left for High Point.
Lundy will return to the school at a key point in the history of its basketball program. The school will open the Levine Center for Wellness and Recreation, a $30 million facility that will house the men’s basketball program, this summer.
Lundy said there is a possibility Queens could make the jump to Division I at some point.
While taking over at Queens was an opportunity Lundy couldn’t pass up, leaving UNT was difficult.
“From the time I arrived, we were welcomed,” Lundy said. “I am happy Tony gave me the opportunity. I wish I had more time with him and the team. He is a special person in my life now and forever, and [UNT athletic director] Rick Villarreal has supported us. What Rick has done at North Texas has been incredible. I am doing the right thing for my family, but I am leaving another family.”
Lundy is the second assistant coach to leave UNT this offseason. Cody Hopkins, a member of UNT’s administrative staff, left to become an assistant at Texas-Pan American.
“We are looking for a well-rounded guy who has ties to the [Dallas-Fort Worth area], can recruit, coach and aspires to be a head coach,” Benford said. “We have a great staff. We will get a quality person and coach.
“I am already looking.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870.