BOGACZYK: Daniel Speaking on Topic He Knows Well
The Word on the Herd-June 3, 2015
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Matt Daniel took a women's basketball program that was 19-41 in two seasons to a 17-15 record and its first postseason berth since 1997 ... and that came on the heels of landing a 2015-16 recruiting class that ranked No. 52 in the nation.
How did the Marshall coach do that by Year 3?
Well, he plans to reveal his designs on Friday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn., when he speaks at the three-day 2015 National Collegiate Recruiting Conference. Daniel's topic is how to build a mid-major Division I program using power conference ideas on a limited budget.
"I'm very honored and humbled for the opportunity to be chosen, and I think it speaks to what we've done here and we're trying to do here and what's we've done in the past," Daniel said Wednesday. "I haven't talked on the subject before to a large group, but it is a situation I've been in before and I'm in now."
Marshall has one of the smallest women's basketball budgets in Conference USA, and Daniel is approaching his fourth year guiding the Herd after four seasons at Central Arkansas, where he guided the Sugar Bears from NCAA Division II into Division I success in the Southland Conference.
His first UCA team went 6-23, but 21-8, 21-12 and 24-7 seasons followed, and Daniel's last two clubs went to the Women's Basketball Invitational and WNIT, respectively. The aforementioned Marshall records were capped this season by a berth in the WBI, where the Herd won at top-seeded Northern Kentucky before falling in a quarterfinal at Mercer, 73-71.
"There are going to be about 150-200 coaches in attendance (in Nashville), which was about the average season attendance my first year (2008-09) at Central Arkansas, so it's a situation where I'm quite comfortable," Daniel said, smiling.
"Anytime you're talking about a budget where you are financially bound, I think you have to be really efficient in using your staff, efficiency in travel, in job responsibilities. That's one of the things I'm going to talk about. And I'm also going to talk about creativity.
"I think you have to be very `outside the box' whenever you're strapped for cash, so to speak, or strapped by any limitations. I've now been two places where budgets are tight, tough economic times you might say, but it's not a situation in which I'm uncomfortable because I'm familiar with it.
"Now, it's one thing to maintain a program with those constraints, but it's another to try and build a program with those constraints. And this is our second time to deal with that and to be able to build a postseason program."
Daniel hopes to make convention goers not only think about what he says. He wants immediate interaction.
"I'm going to go at it a little different," the Herd coach said. "I'm not going to give a presentation, a speech, because I think you can go and you can sit there and you don't get anything out of it. I want to have a 30-minute conversation, because there are going to be coaches there from football to fencing, from basketball to bowling, and everything in between.
"And I want to try and have everyone in the room take something away that they can use. And that's a challenge, but we're talking about challenges anyway, so what's the big deal?
"I may swing and miss on it. I may be off-base on it, but you also have to be creative when you have restraints. It's not a one-on-one conversation, it's a one-on-150 conversation, but I'm very honored to be part of it and it's a credit to what we're trying to accomplish here and what we've done in the past."
# # #
Daniel said a 16th player has joined his 2015-16 roster, with another local addition in 5-foot-8 walk-on Kelsey Riley of Proctorville, Ohio.
Riley was an All-Ohio Division III first team selection at Fairland high School, helping the Dragons to a second straight appearance in the state tournament semifinals. Riley averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds last season.
Her addition to the roster gives Marshall nine players on the 2015-16 roster from in-state or the Tri-State region, including five freshmen, transfers Talequia Hamilton and Taylor Porter, and returnees McKenzie Akers and Kiana Evans.
# # #
Daniel said the Herd's 2015-16 non-conference schedule has been completed. For its final three games, Marshall added a Henderson Center date against St. Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 17 and a game at Southern Illinois on Dec. 28.
The final Herd game was scheduled by Morehead State as part of the Eagles' season-opening Morehead State Classic. Marshall will play its home opener on Nov. 15 against Brescia (Ky.), after a Nov. 13 season opener at MSU's Ellis Johnson Arena.
Eight of the Herd's 11 non-league games are at the Henderson Center. Marshall will play 18 Conference USA games. That schedule has not been announced.
The Herd women's basketball non-conference schedule:
13 -- at Morehead State; 15 -- Brescia (Ky.); 18 -- Rhode Island; 22 -- NJIT; 27 -- Cornell.
5 -- Alabama A&M; 13 -- West Virginia at Charleston Civic Center; 17 -- St. Francis (Pa.); 20 -- Norfolk State; 22 -- Crossroads (Minn.); 28 -- at Southern Illinois.