Marshall signs D’Antoni to contract extension

Published 1:55 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Marshall Athletics

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University men’s basketball coach Dan D’Antoni has agreed to a three-year extension to stay on with the Thundering Herd men’s basketball team.

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D’Antoni’s three-year extension was approved by Marshall University’s Board of Governors during an emergency session that took place at noon on Tuesday.

The Board of Governors’ Athletic Committee met first to discuss making the recommendation before the entire board reconvened for deliberation prior to moving into executive session for approval of the new deal.

D’Antoni, 75, said his passion for both the game of basketball and for Marshall University burns as bright as it ever has as he leads the Thundering Herd into its future in the Sun Belt Conference.

“I love coaching and I love our team,” D’Antoni said. “My first year here was a dream-come-true and it’s the same as I go into my 10th. I’ve got a great fan base and I enjoy living here. We’ve got a great team coming back. We look forward to adding a bit to what we’ve got and seeing if we can’t make another run and finish up a little stronger in these next three years.”

Marshall Director of Athletics Christian Spears said this decision solidifies Marshall men’s basketball for the immediate future and continues the momentum of last season’s success.

“I am convinced that if we all stay together, we can do something spectacular,” Spears said. “We have a team that cares about each other, a coach that is committed to our program and our community and a community that rallies behind us all. Combine that with aligned leadership, and we know that great things are in store for our basketball program. Believe it!”

In 2022-23, Marshall had one of NCAA basketball’s best turnarounds, winning the most regular season games in 76 years (24) while doubling its win total from its previous season. The Herd did so in its first year as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

Marshall President Brad D. Smith said the winning atmosphere and energy that D’Antoni has fostered within the program and community is exactly the foundation and culture upon which the university is built.

“We are so excited to extend excellence by showing our continued commitment and confidence in Coach D’Antoni,” Smith said. “In his nine years, he has done incredible work restoring us to a position of greatness within this athletics program. To win more regular season games this year than we’ve won in 76 years is an outstanding achievement, and we want to continue that excellence for years to come. I am excited and I congratulate Coach D’Antoni and all of Herd Nation.”

D’Antoni credited his players for the turnaround, but also said the all-encompassing buy-in of those surrounding the program paved a path to success.

Facility improvements – most notably, a new basketball floor and more intimate seating accommodations for Cam Henderson Center, along with the renovation of the Scaggs Family Practice Facility and the Pathway Project – combined with several in-game enhancements to re-energize the Cam Henderson Center crowd and turn the game into an event.

D’Antoni’s exciting style of play plus the enhancements led to several sell-outs during the team’s first season in the Sun Belt Conference.

“You always give credit to the young men who put the time in and got you there. They are the biggest credit, but the second one goes to the support we got,” D’Antoni said. “Giving the look of championship quality – the new practice facility that is going in to recruiting, the Cam being cleaned up and feeling like people are excited about what we’re doing and the recruiting walkways they added to depict our players – you have to have all that.

“President Brad Smith and Christian Spears and our administrative team have provided that, along with alumni such as Wyatt Scaggs, who were big on getting the necessary resources together. It’s been long overdue for this program going way back. We’re catching up and I think the attitude of winning rolled right with all of that. I’m looking forward to extending that.”

While Marshall graduates all-time leading scorer Taevion Kinsey, the nucleus of the team is eligible to return with several returnees being near the top of the NCAA in various categories.

That list is headlined by All-SBC First Team guard Andrew Taylor, who finished in the top-25 in scoring in the NCAA at 20.2 points per game, Sun Belt Freshman of the Year Micah Handlogten, who was No. 1 among all NCAA freshmen in rebounds per game (9.8) and was No. 2 among NCAA freshmen in blocks per game (2.3) and guard Kamdyn Curfman, who hit 103 3-pointers on the season, which placed him in the top-15 in NCAA.

D’Antoni, who will be going into his 10th season in 2023-24, is the second-longest tenured coach in Marshall men’s basketball history behind all-time great Cam Henderson.

In nine complete seasons at Marshall, D’Antoni is 164-128 with seven winning seasons, including four in which the Herd has reached the 20-win plateau.