Photo of Amir Abdur-Rahim, Men’s Basketball Coach, USF

Amir Abdur-Rahim, Men’s Basketball Coach, USF

June 3, 2024

Named the 11 th head coach in South Florida men’s basketball history on March 29, 2023, Amir Abdur-Rahim came to USF after leading one of the nation’s most stunning turnarounds at Kennesaw State, which he guided from a 1-win season to a 26-9 record, ASUN Conference regular season and tournament titles and the program’s first-ever Division I NCAA Tournament berth in 2022-23.

In his first season at South Florida, Abdur-Rahim was a unanimous choice for American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, Abdur-Rahim has led USF to a 23-6 (16-2, AAC) record and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament as the Bulls claimed the program's first-ever regular season conference title with a two-game cushion. USF's wintotal marks a nine-win improvement over 2022-23, among the top 20 improvements in the nation in 2023-24, and just the sixth 20-win season in program history. The Bulls' 24 wins are tied for the program record, which was set in 2018-19. USF earned its first-ever Top 25 ranking in men's basketball during the season, reaching as high as No. 24 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls. The
Bulls' 16 wins in conference play are the most in program history and USF held the longest win streak in the nation, posting 15 straight victories in conference play to register the program's longest-ever win streak. Abdur-Rahim is the only USF coach to win their regular season debut and their conference debut. “Everything that we were looking for in a leader for our men’s basketball program, we found in Amir,” Kelly said. “He is a man of high character who is a proven recruiter, program-builder, and winner that creates unparalleled student-athlete experiences. In our conversations, it became clear that he has a vision for USF Basketball and his enthusiasm and tenacity will rally Bulls Nation around our men’s basketball program. I welcome Amir, his wife, Arianne, and their children, Laila, Lana and Ayden to Team USF.”

In four seasons at Kennesaw State (2019-23), Abdur-Rahim oversaw progressive growth in the Owls program, doubling the program’s wins every season, before culminating in KSU’s first winning record as an NCAA Division I program and first ASUN conference titles (regular season and tournament) in 2022-23. The former NCAA Division II power transitioned to Division I in men’s basketball in 2005-06 and had peaked at a 14-18 mark in 2017-18 before Abdur-Rahim took over the program.

The Marietta, Ga. native, led the Owls, picked to finish eighth in the ASUN, to a 15-3 conference record in 2022-23 to claim the ASUN regular season crown. KSU's 15 league wins were five more than the program’s previous record of 10, while the Owls tied for fourth in the nation with 10 road wins (10-6), four more than the 2016-17 team's program-record road mark of 6-13. The Owls went on to post three wins in the conference tournament, downing Liberty (67-66) in the final to earn the tournament title and automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Tournament, the program’s first-ever. KSU finished with a school-record 26-9 mark, scoring 75.0 points per game, to nearly double the program’s previous high wins mark in Division I and post their first winning season in Division I. The Owls set a record as the fastest team to ever reach the NCAA Tournament after a one-win campaign, taking just three seasons. The 14th-seeded Owls took No. 3-seed Xavier to the limit in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, nearly pulling off the first-round upset in what was a one-point
game in the final seconds before eventually falling 72-67. Star guard Chris Youngblood was named a first-team All-Conference and All-District selection and became the first KSU player to be named Georgia Men’s Player of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Meanwhile, guard Terrell Burden earned second-team All-Conference and All-District honors, marking the first time in program history the Owls received district accolades of any kind. Further, Brandon Stroud was named the ASUN Defensive Player of the Year. Abdur-Rahim earned ASUN Coach of the Year and NABC District 3 Coach of the Year
honors and was named the 2023 Hugh Durham Award winner (Division I Mid-Major Coach of the Year) by CollegeInsider.com and Georgia Men’s College Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. He was also a finalist for the Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year award. He finished his KSU tenure with a 45-74 record in four seasons, going 39-27 the last two years, doubling his win total every season on campus before culminating with a school-record 26 wins. His 2021-22 team went 13-18 overall, which equaled KSU’s second-best record in Division I and finished one game behind the previous all-time season win record at the Division I level. KSU’s impressive showing against one of the toughest schedules in the nation led to what was then the school’s highest-ever finish in both the KenPom (223) and NET (224) rankings. They would eclipse that in 2022-23, moving to 123 (KenPom) and 115 (NET), respectively. Abdur-Rahim came to KSU with a proven track record of winning as a player and a coach with 13 years of experience developing and recruiting talented athletes out of the south. One of his first moves at KSU was to bring in standout freshmen Terrell Burden and Armani Harris who made an immediate impact during the 2019-20 campaign. He followed that with one of the top recruiting classes in KSU history. The Owls secured three of Georgia’s top-25 recruits in three-star athletes Chris Youngblood, Brandon Stroud and Kasen Jennings in the fall of 2019, giving KSU the top class in the ASUN and the 61 st -ranked class in the nation

Abdur-Rahim spent one year as an assistant coach at the University of Georgia (2018-19) under head coach Tom Crean. One of the lead recruiters for UGA, he helped the Bulldogs secure a top-10 recruiting class and was pivotal in signing Anthony Edwards, who was selected as the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2020 NBA Draft He also had stints at Texas A&M (2014-18) and Murray State (2006-07 & 2008-11),
where he helped develop two NBA Draft picks in Robert Williams III from TAMU and Isaiah Canaan out of MSU. In four years as an assistant at Texas A&M, he helped lead the Aggies to three postseason appearances and two NCAA Tournament bids, including a pair of Sweet 16 appearances in 2016 and 2018. He also helped orchestrate three 20-win seasons while at TAMU, helping the Aggies to a school record 28 wins in 2016, which included a share of the SEC regular-season title, the first for the program in 30 years. Before moving to College Station, Abdur-Rahim served as an assistant coach at the College of Charleston (2012-14) before being promoted to associate head coach for the 2013-14 campaign. The Cougars recorded an overall record of 38-29 during his two seasons, earning a 2013 CBI bid. Abdur-Rahim also spent a year at Georgia Tech (2007-08) as director of player
development. While earning his master’s degree in organizational communication, Abdur-Rahim spent two years as a graduate assistant at Murray State before being promoted to assistant coach from 2008-11. During Abdur-Rahim’s tenure at Murray State, the Racers compiled a 73-26 overall record, earning two OVC Regular Season Championships and a 2010 OVC Tournament title. The Racers reached the second round of the 2010 NCAA
Tournament, upsetting No. 4 seed Vanderbilt in the opening round before falling to eventual runner-up Butler.  A graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Abdur-Rahim was a three-time All-Southland Conference guard for the Lions, finishing his career ranked seventh in the
record books for points scored and second for three-pointers made and steals. As a freshman at Garden City (Kansas) Community College, he ranked No. 24 nationally in scoring, averaging 19.1 points per game.

Married to Arianne Buchanan, he and his wife have two daughters, Laila and Lana, and a son, Aydin. Abdur-Rahim is one of 13 children born to Deborah Hester and William Abdur-Rahim and one of six brothers to play college basketball. His older brother, Shareef, was a 13-year NBA veteran and is now the President of the NBA’s G-League.
2023-present        South Florida (Head Coach)
2019–23               Kennesaw State (Head Coach)
2018–2019           Georgia (assistant)
2014–2018           Texas A&M (assistant)
2012–2014           College of Charleston (assistant)
2011-12                Georgia Tech (dir. Player development)
2006–2011           Murray State (assistant)