Basketball / Sports

Marshall hires Lakers assistant Dan D'Antoni as next coach

LOS ANGELES--When Marshall University initially went looking for a new men's basketball coach, officials reached out to Lakers coach and alumnus Mike D'Antoni, who turned down the overture.

Marshall officials got their D'Antoni on Thursday, but it was his older brother Dan, an assistant with the Lakers. Dan D'Antoni is scheduled to be introduced Friday.

Dan D'Antoni, 66, has spent the past two seasons on the Lakers' staff and also has had stints as an assistant with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks.

He replaces Tom Herrion, who resigned last month after an 11-22 season.

Mike D'Antoni said in a statement released by Marshall that his brother "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."

Dan's departure opens up speculation regarding his brother's job. Mike D'Antoni has endured two injury-plagued losing seasons with the Lakers and his style of play is not favored by either Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol.

Mike D'Antoni initially had the backing of General Manager Mitch Kupchak. After recent exit interviews, however, Kupchak said he and Lakers president Jim Buss would meet with D'Antoni in the "near future," but didn't give a specific timeline.

Mike D'Antoni is under contract for two more seasons, but Kupchak wasn't definitive as to whether he would be back next season.

"If anything changes, we will let you know," Kupchak had said.

Dan D'Antoni played four seasons at Marshall, leading the Thundering Herd in scoring in 1968-69 at 17.5 points per game. His only experience coaching at the college level was in 1970, when he coached the freshman team at Marshall that included his younger brother, before becoming coach at Socastee High in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for 30 years.

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