Head Coach, Men's Basketball
Office: 102 Adler Athletic Complex
Billy Clapper is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Lions and looks to build on many successes from last season. The Lions return a promising core to the court this year and will set their sights on advancing to the AMCC Tournament for the first time since 2010.
The Saxton native led the Lions to a 9-15 overall record last season. The Lions have gone a combined 28-72 record during his first four seasons and they have had their share of award winners during that time with four All-Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference selections: Zach Spitz (2010), Kirk Peters (2010, 2011), Matt Gehret (2013), and Durant Harvin (2013). He has coached the only All-Region selection in Penn State Altoona men’s basketball history (Kirk Peters in 2011), as well as the AMCC’s 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, Matt Gehret.
Clapper came to Penn State Altoona after spending two seasons on the staff of Coach Bob Rukavina at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. The Mountain Cats had two of the best seasons in the school’s history during his tenure, as they won the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season (2008) and tournament (2009) championships, advancing to the NCAA tournament both seasons. He coached All-Americans Chris Gilliam (2008) and Marcus Tullis (2009), both of whom went on to professional basketball careers overseas.
Prior to UPJ, Clapper coached one season at Indiana State University and one season at Penn State Altoona. His season with the ISU Sycamores was highlighted by victories over three teams that reached the 2007 NCAA Tournament: Purdue, Butler, and Creighton. During his stint as an assistant at Penn State Altoona, he helped recruit the players that led to the program's single season record for wins (14) in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. He also coached Tyler Franklin, Penn State Altoona’s all-time scoring leader and a two-time First Team All-AMCC selection.
As a player, Clapper was a member of the men’s basketball team at Youngstown State University, where he played for current University of Kentucky assistant coach John Robic. He spent three seasons with the Penguins and was twice selected to the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll. Clapper also earned the Tony Vivo Hustle Award as a senior. He played his freshman season at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pennsylvania before transferring to Youngstown State.
Clapper has provided basketball instruction and taught the game throughout the country at over 300 camps and clinics during the last 14 years. He has worked for companies such as Big Shots, Hoop Group, and Reebok. His passion in teaching the game and inspiring others has led him to start his own company, develop a basketball training video, and do motivational speaking.
He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Business Education from Youngstown State in 2005. In addition, he received his Associate’s degree in Business Administration from Mount Aloysius in 2005 and his Master’s degree in Educational Technology from Indiana State in 2007.
Assistant Coach Matt Klein
Matt Klein became the assistant men’s basketball coach at Penn State Altoona prior to the start of the 2014-2015 season. His duties include assisting in team practice, scouting opponents, regional recruiting, game day operations, skill development, community relations, and managing the Lions’ strength and conditioning program.
Klein earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sports Administration, along with minors in Business Administration and Marketing, from the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated in April 2014. During his time at UC, he was a three-year student manager for Coach Mick Cronin and the Bearcats basketball team. As a manager, he assisted in individual player improvement, team travel, practice preparation, and the Bearcats’ summer basketball camps. During his time with UC, the Bearcats reached three straight NCAA Tournament berths, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2012.
Klein’s experience also includes time as an AAU assistant coach for the Shining Stars 17U teams based in Cincinnati.