Dan D'Antoni, a Marshall Athletics Hall of Famer, was named the Thundering Herd men's basketball coach on April 25, 2014. A former star MU point guard, D'Antoni helped Marshall to appearances in the 1967 and 1968 National Invitation Tournaments.
"Coaching Marshall basketball has always been a dream of mine," D'Antoni said as he was introduced as the Herd coach, "even when I was little."
D'Antoni, a native of Mullens, W.Va., is Marshall's 28th men's basketball coach.He signed a four-year contract.
"It's a dream-come-true for me to bring a Dan D'Antoni back to Marshall University," Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick said of D'Antoni's hire. "It's where he belongs. It's taken a while, but he's here."
D'Antoni, 67, is the older brother of former NBA coach Mike D'Antoni. Dan served as one of Mike's assistant coaches for nine NBA seasons. He was a member of the Phoenix Suns' staff from 2005-06 through 2007-08. He spent four seasons on the New York Knicks' staff, then served as an assistant on the Los Angeles Lakers' staff for the past two seasons.
During his career, D'Antoni also served as the head coach of the Knicks' and Lakers' NBA Summer League teams.
After D'Antoni graduated from Marshall in 1970, he joined the Herd staff as the head coach of the freshman basketball team, where he coached his younger brother, Mike, before becoming an assistant coach of the Herd varsity.
D'Antoni was named head basketball coach at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 1975. In 30 years at Socastee (1975-2005), D'Antoni accumulated over 500 wins and multiple coach of the year honors, while founding the Beach Ball Classic, one of the most prestigious high school basketball tournaments in the country. That event has featured more than 75 players who have gone on to play in the NBA.
D'Antoni was the head coach of the Beach Ball Select AAU basketball team, which featured future NBA players Raymond Felton and Ramon Sessions.
D'Antoni was an All-State first team selection at Mullens High School. At Marshall, he was the starting point guard on Ellis Johnson's "Iron Man 5" that played in the 1967 and '68 NIT. The 1966-67 team reached the NIT semifinals, and D'Antoni led the tournament in assists as the Herd finished fourth. As a senior, he was an All-Mid-American Conference first team selection in 1968-69, when he led the Herd in scoring, at 17.5 points per game. D'Antoni was All-MAC second team his junior season.
D'Antoni is one of Marshall's 49 players to score 1,000 career points, with 1,109, and ranks 13th on the Herd's career free throw percentage list, at .774 (301-of-389).
D'Antoni -- whose given name is Lewis Joseph D'Antoni II -- was inducted into the Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990.
D'Antoni graduated from Marshall in 1970 with a degree in Speech and Physical Education, and also earned a Master's degree in Principles of Guidance from Marshall in 1972.
He is the father of three sons, all of whom played collegiate basketball: Matt played at Brown; Andrew attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and later served 3½ years in Iraq, rising to the rank of captain in the U.S. Army; and Nick attended William & Mary, where he was captain of the basketball team. D'Antoni and his wife, Vanessa, also are parents of a daughter, Morgan.
What They're Saying about Dan D'Antoni
Leandro Barbosa (Phoenix Suns), 11-Year NBA pro, 2007 NBA Sixth Man of the Year under D'Antoni
"Coach D'Antoni is more than a friend to me. I compare him to a second father. We have a great relationship, and I appreciate everything he did for me."
Mike D'Antoni, Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach
"Danny has been invaluable in the development of players at the high school and professional level. If you have the desire he will get everything out of you. He is a great coach. Players love playing for him and the style will be fun to watch. The Henderson Center will be rocking with excitement."
David Lee (Golden State Warriors), two-time NBA All-Star
"Dan coached me for two years in New York (Knicks) and taught me a lot about the game of basketball. He made me a better person and a leader. He has the experience, knowledge, and integrity to create a winning atmosphere and develop players on and off the court."
Steve Novak (Toronto Raptors), nine-year NBA pro
"Dan is a teacher. He's a coach who can relate to his guys off the court but also motivate them on it. He was a huge part of the most enjoyable year of basketball I played in my career, largely because of the style we played and the confidence he gave me."