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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Former Portageville star to join TRCC staff

Sunday, July 30, 2006

(Photo)
William Durden
POPLAR BLUFF -- William Durden, who helped lead the Raiders to their last national tournament appearance, is coming back to Three Rivers.

The former All-American has joined coach Gene Bess' staff as an assistant.

"William was one of our favorite players down through the years," Bess said. "We just feel really good about hiring him."

Durden is replacing Dominic Okon, who spent 10 years at Three Rivers as a player and assistant coach before joining the coaching staff at Liberty University in June. The Raiders were 197-62 during his eight-year tenure as an assistant coach.

"He's got big shoes to fill," said Bess. "William was always very intelligent, very industrious and he just always fit in well as a player so we think he's going to fit into a similar role to what Dominic has had.

"He's excited about coming (and) I think it's going to be a good fit."

After a red-shirt season, the Portageville native averaged 10.5 points and 4.8 rebounds during his two years with the Raiders. Durden earned third-team

All-American honors in 2003, helping Three Rivers to a 12th-place finish at the national tournament.

Three Rivers was 55-13 with Durden on the roster.

He then played two years at Austin Peay University, starting 27 games as a senior and averaging 8.4 points and 5.6 rebounds for coach Dave Loos.

"He just led by example," Bess said. "He's got an excellent basketball background and I think he can be a real positive factor for us."

Bess also recently signed his seventh player, adding Brandon Rogowski.

A 6-3 guard from Goreville, Ill., Rogowski was named to the Illinois coaches' all-state team and was MVP of his conference tournament, scoring 24 points in the final. He averaged double figures in scoring both his junior and season seasons for the Blackcats.

Three Rivers has also signed Marquis Weddle from Union City, Tenn., Twin Rivers guard Michael Lance, Jackson center Aaron Redecker, Colby Wren of Kemper County and point guards Bryan Sherrer and Tony Tyler.

The Raiders will return Keith Burton, Kendal Deason and Mantas Griskenas for their sophomore season and redshirt freshman Artem Valov.

The Raiders start the season Nov. 3 and will play all of their home games on campus at the Bess Activity Center.

Three Rivers also hired an assistant baseball coach at Thursday's board meeting.

Barrett Short, a former assistant coach at Southwest Baptist University, will join head coach Stacey Burkey, replacing former assistant Denver Stuckey who moved to Oran High School to be athletic director and boys basketball coach.