Mustang Coaching Staff
Head Coach Jim Sykes
Jim Sykes has put together one of the most impressive men's basketball coaching resumes in Morningside history since he was promoted to the position of head coach in January of the 2003-04 campaign.
Sykes has a career record of 217-118 for a .648 winning percentage for the most victories and the highest victory rate in school history. He has led the Mustangs to nine winning seasons in the last 11 years, including five 20-win campaigns, four NAIA Division II National Tournament berths, three Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) regular season championships, and two GPAC Post-Season Tournament championships.
Sykes guided the Mustangs to consecutive GPAC regular season championships in 2007-08 and 2008-09. The Mustangs repeated as GPAC champions in 2008-09 despite the graduation loss of seven seniors, including four starters, from a team that went 29-4 in 2007-08 to set a school record for victories and was ranked No. 1 in the nation for much of the season. He was named the 2008 GPAC Coach of the Year after he guided the Mustangs to the regular season GPAC title.
He led the Mustangs to a 25-9 record during the 2013-14 season. The Mustangs finished strong with a 10-game winning streak and won the GPAC Post-Season Tournament championship to secure a NAIA Division II National Tournament berth. Sykes also guided the Mustangs to NAIA II National Tournament appearances in 2006, 2008, and 2009. Morningside reached the Elite Eight of the 2006 NAIA II National Tournament and advanced to the second round at the 2008 and 2009 national tourneys.
He was named the Mustangs' head coach on March 29, 2004, after he led the Mustangs to a strong second half finish during the 2003-04 season while serving as the team's head coach on an interim basis. Sykes, who was in his third year as the Mustangs' top assistant coach, took over the program on an interim basis after former head coach Jerry Schmutte took a medical leave of absence.
The Mustangs posted a 9-3 record under Sykes en route to an 18-13 finish and a 14-4 record in the GPAC to share the league's regular season championship with Northwestern College. Sykes was named the 2004 GPAC Coach of the Year for his efforts. The Mustangs, who had finished 10-22 during the 2002-03 campaign, were the surprise team of the GPAC after they had been tabbed for a 12th place finish in the conference coaches’ pre-season poll.
Sykes guided the Mustangs to a 20-11 record in 2004-05 for the college's first 20-win season since 1994-95.
Sykes came to Morningside from Waverly, Neb., where he had been a coach at Waverly High School for 10 years. He was an assistant coach for Waverly's varsity boy's basketball and football teams and was a junior high school track coach. Sykes helped lead Waverly to a berth in Nebraska's 1995 Class B state basketball tournament.
Sykes graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1989. Sykes previously attended Hastings College, where he was a member of the Broncos' men's basketball team for two years.
Assistant Coach Anthony Elias
Anthony Elias has been the Mustangs' top assistant since joining the Mustangs' coaching staff in the summer of 2012.
Elias came to Morningside from Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Ore., where he was hired as the school's head coach following the 2011-12 campaign.
Elias was previously the head assistant men’s basketball coach at GPAC rival Concordia University, where he was a member of the Bulldogs’ staff from 2006-12. Elias was the head coach at Mt. Pleasant High School in San Jose, Calif., and the head assistant coach at Cuyamaca Community College in El Cajon, Calif., earlier in his career.
Elias is a 2006 graduate of Concordia and earned a master’s degree from Concordia University-Chicago in 2009.
He was a two-year letterwinner at Concordia and averaged 10.6 points per game and led the Bulldogs with 97 assists during the 2003-04 campaign. Elias also played two seasons at Cuyamaca CC, where he set school records with 36 points and eight 3-point field goals in one game and earned All-Pacific Coast Conference honors.
Assistant Coach Russ Fuchser
Russ Fuchser joined the Mustangs coaching staff for the 2013-14 season following a highly successful career as both a boys and girls basketball assistant coach at South Sioux City High School.
Fuchser, who remains a physical education instructor in the South Sioux City school system, helped lead the Cardinals to Nebraska state championships in both boys and girls basketball.
He was a girls basketball assistant coach at South Sioux City from 1993-2005. During those 12 seasons he helped lead the Lady Cardinals to 10 state championships and one runner-up finish. That success enabled him to be named as an assistant coach on the 2005 McDonalds All-America Team and he received an Assistant Coach of the Year award in 2002. As a girls basketball coach at South Sioux City, Fuchser helped coach future Morningside women’s basketball players Mindy Durant and Trish Martin.
Fuchser joined the South Sioux City boys basketball coaching staff in 2009. In five years as a Cardinal assistant coach, he helped lead the team to three state championships and one runner-up finish. He helped coach current Morningside freshman guard Sky Aldrich during his time with the Cardinals.