Click here to Skip to main content
Univ of Arkansas Fort Smith - Basketball
Univ of Arkansas Fort Smith - Basketball mobile



AJ Holland begins his first season as assistant men’s basketball coach.

Holland, a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., has deep family roots in basketball. His father, James, is an assistant basketball coach at NCAA Division I Western Michigan and his younger brother, Kevin, currently plays for former UAFS men’s basketball coach Doc Sadler at NCAA Division I Southern Mississippi University.

A graduate of Paul W. Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Holland played his freshman season at Rice University, where he averaged two points and one rebound per game while playing in 26 games and averaging 12.1 minutes per tame.

As a sophomore, he played for College of Central Florida, where he averaged 5.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.96 rebounds per game while playing in 28 games.

Holland played his final two collegiate seasons at NCAA Division II University of Sioux Falls. He averaged 6.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game as a junior, playing in 28 games and averaging 27 minutes per game. As a senior, he averaged 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, one steal and 2.3 assists per game while playing 27 games and averaging 28 minutes per game.

Prior to joining Newman’s staff, the 26-year-old Holland worked for Elite Hoops Basketball, where he helped direct Nike Basketball Camps and offered individualized training to athletes in the Atlanta, Ga., metro area.



Zane Gibson begins his second season as assistant coach with the Lions.

Gibson, a native of Chattanooga, Tenn., has had a very successful start to his tenure as Lions assistant basketball coach. He was recently recognized as one the National Association of Basketball Coaches' 30-under-30, a group of up-and-coming young men's basketball coaches.

In his first season on staff, Gibson helped lead the Lions to a 23-11 record, the regular-season Heartland Conference Championship, the Heartland Conference Tournament Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

Prior to joining the Lions coaching staff, Gibson was a graduate assistant for two seasons (2014-16) at NCAA Division I Middle Tennessee State, where he also played basketball from 2009-2014.

As a graduate assistant, Gibson assisted with all the day-to-day aspects of the program, including practices, travel and recruiting mail outs. Gibson also served as the video coordinator for the Blue Raiders, handling all game and practice edits for Middle Tennessee as well as film exchange.

During the 2015-16 season, Gibson was a part of Middle Tennessee’s Conference USA Tournament Championship team that advanced to the NCAA Round of 32, beating No. 2 seed Michigan State in the first round.

As a player, Gibson was a member of four conference championship teams (2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14). Gibson’s 2012-13 team set the school record for wins, going 27-7, winning the regular-season Sun Belt Championship and advancing to the quarterfinals of the NIT Tournament while beating in-state rival Tennessee along the way.

The following season (2013-14), his team again set the school record in wins, going 28-6, winning the regular-season Sun Belt Championship and receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they played Matthew Dellavedova’s St. Mary’s team.

Gibson’s senior class left Middle Tennessee as the all-time winningest class in the school’s 100-year history, winning 95 total games in a four-year stretch.

During Gibson’s eight years in college basketball, he has been a part of five 20-or-more-win seasons, has won five regular season championships and two tournament championships. He has participated in the post season six of the eight years; made three NCAA Tournament appearances, one NIT appearance and two CIT appearances. Gibson has had success against the Power 5 schools, beating UCLA, Tennessee, Michigan State, Ole Miss (twice), Auburn and Vanderbilt.

Gibson’s overall record during his eight years in college basketball is 181-90.

Gibson graduated from Middle Tennessee in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History with a Political Science minor and completed his masters in Sports Management in 2016 also from Middle Tennessee State University.

He is married to his wife, Teal.