Steve Middleton has coached some of the top bigmen in the nation since coming to UMass along with Travis Ford in 2005. Middleton worked with Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme as they emerged as national stars for the Minutemen as UMass advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2000, in 2007.
Middleton aided the development of Lasme, who was a second round draft pick of the Golden State Warriors after being named an Honorable Mention All-American. He was also named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year after finishing second in the nation in blocked shots. Lasme also tied the all-time NCAA record for triple-doubles in a season with four in 2006-07.
Freeman became the Atlantic 10's first three-time First-Team All-Conference player since Saint Joseph's Jameer Nelson (2001-04). Freeman finished fourth in career scoring at UMass (1,744) and third in rebounds (998).
Middleton was instrumental in both players' success as part of the Minutemen's 2006-07 Atlantic 10 regular-season championship.
Middleton joined the University of Massachusetts staff in 2005 after three seasons as an assistant coach for Travis Ford at Eastern Kentucky. He was a key ingredient in the Colonels rise to an Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Title and NCAA Tournament berth in 2005 and a school record 22 wins.
Middleton, is considered to be a tremendous "teacher" of the game of basketball; is directed the post players for Coach Ford as he did at EKU. Ford's EKU team was strong in the post and Middleton is given a lot of credit for their development, including first team all-conference performer Michael Haney. "Steve is well respected by our players, and brings a lot of credibility as a former player and high school head coach to our staff" qoutes Ford on Middleton.
The Brooklyn native, graduated from Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn, New York, where he has some very strong recruiting connections. In his senior season, Middleton led the Blue Devils to a 20-3 mark and a District 3 championship. He posted 24 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals per game. As a result he was chosen as an All-Brooklyn selection and signed a full scholarship to attend Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Middleton enjoyed tremendous success as a four year letter winner at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He ranks 5th in career scoring at SIUC with 1,710 career points and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1996. "A pure scorer" is what his former college coach Rich Herrin desribes Middleton as. In his senior season Middleton was 6th in the nation in scoring with 25 ppg (28 ppg in confernce play), 6.0 rebounds, while shooting 49.8% from the field, and 2 steals per game. Middleton was chosen as a unanimous choice for first team all Missouri Valley Conference as a Junior and Senior.
Middleton was drafted by the Long Island Knights of the United States Basketball League (USBL) in 1988. He also had a brief stint in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) in 1988. After his brief professional career Middleton returned to SIUC and earned two degrees; bachelor's in History (1989) with a minor concentration in Afro-American History. Middleton earned his Master's degree in Education-Recreation in 1992.
While earning his Master's degree Middleton began his coaching career in 1989 as a graduate assistant with the SIUC women's program. In 1990 Middleton was the Head Coach at Golconda Civilian Conservation Center. In 1991-92 Middleton worked as a Health Educator in the Alexander & Pulaski Counties schools and communities in Southern Illinois. As a Health Educator Middleton's focus was on 'Health issues in Black America', in which he participated in many health conferences as a speaker. During this time Middleton was heavily involved with A.A.U. basketball in Southern Illinois.
Finally, in 1993 Middleton was hired as Head Basketball Coach, Athletic Director and Physical Education & Health Teacher @ St. Mary High School in Paducah, Kentucky. Middleton was and remains the first and only black male coach of a varsity high school basketball team in region 1's history. He went on to revive a dormant program and lead the Vikings to seven tournament championships, including four consecutive class 'A' regional titles and the team's first state tournament appearances. In 1999, he directed St. Mary to the championship of the Paducah Tilghman Christmas Tournament and won the Lone Oak Holiday Tournament in 1999 & 2000.
For his efforts, Middleton was selected the 1999 Paducah Sun's Purchase Area Coach of the Year after leading St. Mary to a 23-6 record and the school's first state tournament appearance. His record in nine season's @ St. Mary was 126-122; 81-35 in his last four season's at the helm of the Vikings.
He and his wife of 14 years, ReGina have two daughters LaNesha Maria (13) & Kierra Janece (5). His wife ReGina was also a standout basketball player at John A. Logan College in Carterville, Ill., where she is a member of the Volunteer Hall of Fame. The couple met on ReGina's official visit to SIUC as Steve served as her host. ReGina also has her Master's degree and 10 years of educational experience in academic advising.
The Middleton File