David Hixon (born December 3, 1952) is a retired American college basketball head coach who spent 42 years coaching Amherst College. As head coach, he transformed the Amherst men's basketball program into one of the best in the nation.

He was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 and into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2023.

Playing career

The Andover, Massachusetts native was a member of the Amherst College men's basketball team while studying psychology. He graduated in 1975.[1]

His father, Wil Hixon, was a basketball coach at the high school level, best known for his stint at Andover High School where he also coached his son. Father and son won a state championship in 1970. Both were inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.[2]

Coaching career

Following his playing days, Hixon earned a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts and volunteered in coaching (basketball, track & field, football) at Amherst.[3]

Hixon was hired as Amherst head coach in 1977 at only 24 years of age.[3] Until his retirement, he compiled a coaching record of 826–293, ranking him 15th in NCAA men's basketball when he retired in April 2020. He had a winning percentage of .738, good for a 10th place in NCAA Division III history, at the time of his retirement. He was named NABC NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2013.[4]

Hixon's Amherst teams won national championships in 2006–07 and 2012–13.[5] In 2008, he reached the national championship game with his squad, where they suffered defeat to Washington (MO). In 2004, 2006, 2014, 2016, he led Amherst to the national semifinals.[6]

Under his tutelage, Amherst participated in the NCAA national tournament 20 times and compiled a 43-20 postseason record. However, due to New England Small Conference Athletic Conference (NESCAC) rules, his Amherst team was ineligible for NCAA postseason play until 1994. He took on arch rival Williams College 21 times during his coaching career, winning 17.[7]

Hixon also coached soccer and track at Amherst.[8] On May 7, 2022, the floor at Amherst's LeFrak Gymnasium was named Hixon Court.[9]


On September 16, 2019, it was announced that Hixon would be taking a leave of absence for the 2019–2020 season, and that assistant coach Aaron Toomey would be the interim head coach.[10] On April 13, 2020, Hixon announced his retirement.[11] In April 2023, it was published that he was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.[12] Hixon was the first coach of an NCAA Division III institution to be inducted.[13]


Several of Hixon's players went on to play professionally, including players like:

Other standout players of his Amherst tenure include

Throughout his coaching career, Hixon received interest from NCAA Division I schools, especially from the Ivy League. In 2008, he was a candidate to become the new head coach of Bucknell University. Hixon declined the offer, but suggested Dave Paulsen of Amherst's rival Williams College as a candidate. Paulsen eventually ended up getting the Bucknell job.[18]


His wife Mandy, a member of the United States International Diving Team from 1980 to 1984, served as diving coach at Amherst College, Williams College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was also an assistant Professor of Physical Education, Coordinator of Aquatics, assistant Director of Intramurals and assistant coach of field hockey, lacrosse and tennis.[19]

The couple's first son Matthew is a film editor,[20] their younger son Michael won silver medals at the 2016[21] and 2020 Olympic Games[22] in diving.

See also


  1. ^ "It's official: Hixon done at Amherst". D3hoops. 2020-04-13. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  2. ^ "Like father, like son". Amherst College. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  3. ^ a b "Top on-court moments from David Hixon's Hall of Fame career coaching Amherst basketball". Daily Hampshire Gazette. 2023-08-07. Retrieved 2023-08-14.
  4. ^ "NABC NCAA Division III Coach of the Year". NABC. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  5. ^ "Head Coach David Hixon '75". Amherst College. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  6. ^ "NCAA Championship History". Amherst College. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  7. ^ "Dave Hixon, longtime Amherst College basketball coach, retires after 42 seasons". Daily Hampshire Gazette. 2020-04-13. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  8. ^ "Legendary Amherst College Men's Basketball Coach David Hixon '75 to Retire". Amherst College. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  9. ^ "Hixon Court dedicated in honor of legendary Amherst basketball coach". Amherst College. 2022-05-07. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  10. ^ "Amherst College men's basketball coach Dave Hixon takes leave of absence; Aaron Toomey takes reins". Daily Hampshire Gazette. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  11. ^ "It's official: Hixon done at Amherst". D3hoops. 2020-04-13. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  12. ^ "David Hixon '75 Elected to Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame". Amherst College. 15 July 2021. Retrieved 2023-05-02.
  13. ^ "Former Amherst College coach, David Hixon becomes first DIII coach to join HOF". Western Mass News. 2023-08-13. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  14. ^ "NABC Division III All-America Teams". NABC. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  15. ^ a b "All-time D3hoops.com men's All-Americans". D3hoops. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  16. ^ "Amherst's Professional Men's Basketball Players". Amherst College. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  17. ^ "NABC Division III All-America Teams". NABC. Archived from the original on 2019-03-30. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  18. ^ Feinstein, John. "Perspective. For 42 years, Amherst's Dave Hixon was one of the best coaches you never heard of". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  19. ^ "Mandy Hixon - Men's Swimming & Diving Coach". University of Massachusetts Athletics. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  20. ^ "Hall of Fame Amherst College basketball coach David Hixon kept his family close". Daily Hampshire Gazette. 2023-08-10. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  21. ^ "Olympic silver medalist Michael Hixon finds time to train on Thanksgiving break". Daily Hampshire Gazette. 2016-11-26. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  22. ^ "Olympics: Amherst's Michael Hixon claims another synchronized diving silver medal at Tokyo 2020". Daily Hampshire Gazette. 2021-07-28. Retrieved 2023-08-13.