Today is the two-year anniversary of Marshall announcing it had hired former Herd star and longtime NBA assistant Dan D’Antoni as its head coach.
The school’s athletic director, Mike Hamrick, tweeted the news at 2:06 p.m. We posted a full story of the hiring five minutes later. It was a whirlwind day that included this column by yours truly: D’Antoni hire shines spotlight on Marshall for a day
These paragraphs are particularly relevant today:
“Conference USA coaches are texting me at a furious rate downright giddy by the fact that Marshall hired Dan D’Antoni,” ESPN college basketball analyst Jeff Goodman posted to the social media website Twitter shortly after the news leaked.
The tomato tossing didn’t stop with that.
Subsequent tweets from Goodman said “everyone in NBA circles … along with C-USA coaches — killing the hire.” CBSsports.com college hoops columnist Gary Parrish noted that Dan D’Antoni hasn’t worked on a college campus in 40 years and said one text from the NBA predicted Marshall’s hire “will be the worst thing you’ve ever witnessed.”
What rubbish. Shirtless pictures of me exist that will prove Parrish’s tweet wrong.
Lewis Joseph “Dan” D’Antoni II is coming off his second season. It was a winning season, 17-16. In fact, the Thundering Herd finished in a tie for third in Conference USA. D’Antoni was in the mix to be the Conference USA Coach of the Year, and some could argue he should’ve been.
In short … this has hardly been the worst thing we’ve ever witnessed.
Marshall averaged 86.0 points per game, which fell 0.4 points per game shy of the national lead (and ranked No. 3 nationally). The Herd ranked fourth nationally in 3-point attempts. The crowds swelled inside the Henderson Center, which is what younger brother Mike D’Antoni predicted after the hire was announced two years ago today:
“The Henderson Center will be rocking with excitement,” he said.