Matt Daniel, who quickly built a successful NCAA Division I women's basketball program at Central Arkansas, was named head coach at Marshall University in May 2012 and enters his fourth season with the Thundering Herd.
Daniel, 39, guided Marshall to a berth in the Women's Basketball Invitational in 2014-15 and captured the program's first postseason win in the NCAA era (81-79 victory over Northern Kentucky) in only its second appearance. The WBI run also extended the Herd's season later than any other season since the 1971-72 season where the program played to the end of March (but only 17 games). He also mentored Leah Scott and Chukwuka Ezeigbo, who each became just the fourth and fifth student-athletes in program history to gain All-Conference USA recognition (second team). Daniel's latest team also brought an increased commitment to scoring as the team's 66.1 points per game was the most since the 2007-08 season (68.0) and the 193 3-pointers are a school record. The stage was set for a good season when Daniel and his staff brought in a 2015-16 recruiting class that was ranked 52nd nationally by BlueStar Report, ahead of Villanova, Indiana, Boston College and Cincinnati among others.
On Dec. 22, 2014, Daniel's Thundering Herd set a school single-game scoring record in a 127-56 win over Brescia. That mark is also a Conference USA record, giving Daniel's teams the single-game scoring record in two leagues (Conference USA, Southland). In that game, the team hit 14 3-pointers, tying the school's all-time record. Marshall guard AJ Johnson also nailed seven 3-pointers, also a school record, and set a Marshall single-season school record when she hit 72 3-pointers last season.
In Daniel's second season, his Thundering Herd became the lowest seed to advance in a conference tournament when, as a 16 seed, it defeated ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic 80-73 in the opening round of the 2014 Conference USA Tournament in El Paso, Texas.
At UCA, Daniel earned a reputation as a spirited and tireless young coach who displayed an ability to turn around a program, finishing his final three seasons at UCA with a 66-26 record.
During his four years with the Sugar Bears, Daniel took UCA from Division II to the Division I level and guided a program that had two consecutive 20-loss seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09) to its first Division I regular season conference championship (Southland Conference), two postseason tournaments ('12 WNIT, '11 WBI) and three straight 21-win seasons. His teams had the best overall and conference records in the Southland Conference over his last three seasons.
Daniel's recruiting ability led to many of Central Arkansas' recent successes. During his four years at UCA, he produced two Southland Players of the Year, a Southland Defensive Player of the Year and a Southland Freshman of the Year. Daniel also coached eight All-Conference selections, along with three first-team selections and three All-Academic honorees.
For his efforts, he was named the 2010 and 2012 Southland Coach of the Year.
Under Daniel's direction, women's basketball attendances increased significantly at UCA. Eight of the top 10 crowds in UCA history came in the last five years. UCA led the Southland in attendance, while developing an intimidating home-court advantage that included a 21-3 home conference record in his last three years.
In total, Daniel's teams have made three postseason appearances and all of of his recruits that have graduated have played in a postseason.
The Jonesboro, Ark. native has other coaching experience at the University of Missouri, the University of Colorado, and Texas-Arlington, where he was an assistant coach at each institution.
Daniel started coaching as a graduate assistant for men's basketball at Arizona State and played collegiate basketball at Colorado and Harding (Ark.) University.
He is a 1998 graduate of Harding University and was Mr. Basketball in Arkansas in 1994. He was named MVP of the state tournament after taking Jonesboro High School to a state title in Arkansas' highest classification.
He and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Daniel, welcomed their firstborn daughter, Steele, in October 2012, and their second daughter, Brett, in July 2014.
POSTSEASON PLAY FOR SECOND TIME IN MARSHALL HISTORY (FIRST WIN)
SIGNED #52 RECRUITING CLASS IN 2014 EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
2015-2 ALL-CONFERENCE USA SELECTIONS (4TH AND 5TH IN PROGRAM HISTORY)
BROKEN 3 CONFERENCE RECORDS AND 5 SCHOOL RECORDS
2014-15 WBCA CONFERENCE CAPTAIN
2013-14 WBCA CONFERENCE CAPTAIN
2011-12 WBCA CONFERENCE CAPTAIN
2010-11 WBCA CONFERENCE CAPTAIN
2012 SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR
2012 COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR
2010 SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR
2010 WBCA NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR NOMINEE
2011 UCA COACH OF THE YEAR
1 SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP
3 POSTSEASON TOURNAMENTS (TWO IN FIRST TWO YEARS ELIGIBLE)
4 SOUTHLAND PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
SOUTHLAND DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
SOUTHLAND FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
10 TOTAL ALL-CONFERENCE SELECTIONS
3 FIRST TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE SELECTIONS
3 SOUTHLAND ALL-ACADEMIC SELECTIONS
DANIEL'S YEARLY RECORDS
14-2 (Southland Conference Regular Season Champions)