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Dan Evans Takes UNG Men’s Basketball to New Heights, Playing in Their First Elite Eight

UNG Men’s Head Basketball Coach Dan Evans cutting the net after winning NCAA Southeast Regional title. Photo by Ben Lilley

EVANSVILLE, Ind— In his fifth season as head coach of the men’s basketball program, Dan Evans has taken the Nighthawks where they have never been before. A berth into the Elite Eight has the University of North Georgia to its furthest point ever in program history and only its second tournament appearance ever.

For most of this year, UNG was in the upper part of the NCAA Coaches Poll, being mostly in the top 10, and ranking as high as sixth. North Georgia had some high-profile wins, two of their biggest wins in the regular season came on the road, a December matchup against #22 Lincoln Memorial and a road Peach Belt Conference game against #21 USC Aiken back in January. North Georgia finished the regular season again with the best record in program history with a 22-6 record. Last year UNG finished 21-6 smashing the previous record.

The Nighthawks completed the regular season on a little bit of a rough patch, finishing 3-4 in their last seven games.

Since the regular season ended, UNG has won seven straight matchups, winning the Peach Belt Conference Tournament and the NCAA Southeast Regional.

“It took us a while this season I think to get back to that. With all the expectation and I think all the attention, it’s really challenging…. We weren’t healthy, we weren’t very available, and we had all sorts of things, but I would say just in time we found our way back to that program wide commitment in everything that we do.” Evans said after the Southeast Regional win.

This year was another season that Evans and the program produced award-winning plays on the court. Star senior forward Frank Champion made the 2024 NABC All-District First Team, Bev Francis Top 25 Watch List and was elected to the NCAA Southeast Regional All-Tournament Team. Champion was also named to the 2023-24 DII CCAA All-Southeast Region Team and 2023-24 PBC All-Conference First Team.

Champion is not alone in receiving awards this season, as four other teammates won various awards throughout the year.

Last week, coach Evans praised his players’ willingness to do what is best for the team.

“You know, Case Roach is a player willing to start the championship and is also willing to come off the bench and not play a bunch at necessarily at every turn in the regional tournament, and he doesn’t care at all other than can our team win.”

Last Tuesday’s game was a milestone one for North Georgia, winning the Southeast Regional over Peach Belt rival Lander University in front of a record crowd for the Nighthawks in the Convocation Center.

“It was a very unique environment, our entire community, the university in Dahlonega. This was a culmination of a lot of work by not only our players, but our administration and the community to have 4,000 people, standing room only, and an exciting end to the game.” Dan Evans said today in the coaches press conference.

North Georgia is on its second longest winning streak of the year heading into the Elite Eight.

“We’ve been able to take some of the fuel [referencing to expectations earlier] and some of the challenges we have faced all year, and we are playing some of our best basketball. We are really excited to be here.” – Dan Evans on the recent success of the team.

The Nighthawks enter the Elite Eight as the fifth seed and will take on fourth seeded West Texas A&M for the first time in program history tomorrow night at 9:30 p.m. EST. You can watch the game on

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Devin Kupka, Staff Writer
Hi I'm Devin Kupka. I'm a communications/multi-media/journalism major. Junior. Gainesville. My favorite part about journalism is all the different events one covers.
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