HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– Marshall fans had been holding out hope that Mike D’Antoni would return to his alma mater and lead its basketball program out of the doldrums of Conference USA but those dreams were dashed Tuesday. D’Antoni informed Marshall Athletics Director Mike Hamrick he was not available to take the job.
The Charleston Daily Mail’s Chuck McGill first broke the news that Herd fans did not want to hear. Hamrick pursued D’Antoni and was reportedly “all in” to persuade the Herd basketball legend back to Huntington even spending several days in Los Angeles making his best pitch to D’Antoni. However, even after the worst season in Lakers’ history, the storied franchise is not ready to hand D’Antoni his walking papers.
D’Antoni met with Lakers brass — team executive Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak — multiple times this week to discuss D’Antoni’s future with the organization. At this point, the Lakers just aren’t going to budge and are adamant about keeping D’Antoni as the coach. D’Antoni is two years through a three-year, $12 million contract he signed on Nov. 12, 2012. The Lakers hold a team option for a fourth season that would bring D’Antoni back for the 2015-16 campaign at another $4 million. — Charleston Daily Mail
Now, Marshall’s coaching search must do an about face and it must move quickly. Tom Herrion was relieved his duties all the way back on March 14 and a fanbase that Hamrick described as apathetic during the press conference announcing Herrion’s firing, needs to make a move to energize the Herd faithful.
Other candidates who have reportedly interviewed for the job include Eastern Kentucky’s Jeff Neubauer, Stephen F. Austin’s Brad Underwood and West Virginia assistant Ron Everhart.