JOPLIN, Mo. – Former Missouri Southern assistant Sam McMahon was formally introduced Wednesday as the school’s new head men’s basketball coach, one day after the school announced his hiring.

Missouri Southern athletic director Rob Mallory said that the final four candidates for the position were some of the best he’s ever seen, but it was McMahon’s character and track record of success that separated him from the pack.

“Sam was the first candidate we had on campus, and after each candidate, every subsequent candidate, we had to ask ourselves, ‘Who’s the better fit? Who’s the better hire for Missouri Southern? This candidate, or Sam McMahon? Each and every time, the answer was Sam McMahon,” Mallory said.

“It was surreal, to be honest with you,” McMahon said. “It was such a blessing, and I’m just so thankful for Rob Mallory and Dr. Van Galen for giving me the opportunity to lead one of the best DII program in the country, and I can’t wait to get started.”

McMahon also introduced his wife, Holly, and their three children to the crowd, adding that he and his family couldn’t be more excited to be back at Missouri Southern.

The Jefferson City native has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Division I Southeast Missouri. Other coaching stops included Central Methodist University and Missouri State.

McMahon spent six seasons at Missouri Southern, first as an assistant then associate head coach. He replaces Jeff Boschee, who left the program to take the head coaching job at MIAA rival Pittsburg State.