HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall officials have contacted Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni about the vacant coaching job at his alma mater, according to an ESPN report.
With the Lakers currently 24-47 and spiraling toward their worst finish since 1975, D’Antoni’s future with the team is murky enough that Marshall was at least willing to check his interest level. He has two years left on his Lakers contract that pays him $4 million annually.
While the ESPN story framed a D’Antoni-Marshall reunion as unlikely, a subsequent CBSSports.com report cited another source who predicted the coach could wind up in Huntington.
“I would think his days are numbered based on Kobe (Bryant) saying he had no interest in playing for him next year,” a source told CBSSports.com. “If he isn’t with the Lakers, I believe he will be at Marshall because there is mutual interest.”
Marshall fired Tom Herrion earlier this month on the heels of an 11-22 season that dropped his four-year record to 67-67. D’Antoni, who was born in Mullens, frequently remains in contact with Marshall, where he was a standout for the Herd before being chosen in the second round of the 1973 NBA draft.
However, D’Antoni has never coached at the college level—serving instead for seven years as a coach in the Italian pro league before beginning a 15-year career in the NBA that included stints as a personnel director and scout. During 12 seasons as an NBA head coach, D’Antoni owns a 452-418 career record highlighted by two berths in the Western Conference finals with Phoenix.
At age 62, D’Antoni might be a long shot for future NBA head coaching opportunities if he’s forced out by Lakers.