COLUMN

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Dan D’Antoni has been on the job for a little more than a month-and-a-half and has identified areas that Marshall needs to upgrade if it truly wants to be a contender for the NCAA tournament.

Those upgrades entail a major commitment by the university to the men’s basketball program.

The Henderson Center, a practice facility, training room, equipment, coaches’ offices and travel all need to be addressed, according to D’Antoni, if The Herd is to be in the conversation for conference championships and tournament berths.

“There are a lot of things just in the facilities, having the right equipment, right budget, it is difficult,” said D’Antoni during an appearance on The Stampede.

D’Antoni is thinking big when it comes to upgrades, pointing out that Marshall needs a proper practice venue. When the Henderson Center is occupied—the basketball team shares it with volleyball and women’s basketball—The Herd practices in Gullickson Hall, which was built in 1961 and hasn’t been updated much since.

“(It’s difficult) having to use Gullickson Hall, which hasn’t really changed since I played there. I went in and looked at it and it’s the same court,” said D’Antoni.

“Having a practice facility with multiple goals. It’s hard to get shooting in in the limited amount of time the NCAA gives you with just two goals. We need a practice facility to go to and one that is accessible.”

That’s just the start.

“We need a larger office space that is first-class that will help in recruiting. When you’re bringing in parents they can see the university is invested in the program and has a prominent place,” he said.

Then there’s the issue of traveling on commercial flights to cities such like El Paso and San Antonio that require layovers and connections.

“Our travel has got to be upgraded. Travel has to be such that we can get on planes, not private planes, but chartered flights,” said D’Antoni.

He also wants to see upgrades to training equipment, the training room and even the nutrition program.

No one would argue D’Antoni’s point that all of those improvements are needed, unless they had to put the program’s budget together. Each item D’Antoni mentioned will take a major financial commitment.

“It’s hard to keep raising and asking for money but I know Mike [Hamrick] is committed to make sure this basketball program is top notch.”

D’Antoni wants to bring pride back to Marshall basketball and part of bringing back pride is having facilities and an overall program to brag about.

“I think you develop pride if you walk in and all the doors are on the lockers, the room is picked up, it looks clean, there’s regular maintenance, make sure our offices are in order, so it presents a first class picture.”

Dan D’Antoni made a commitment to Marshall that he would do everything he can to resurrect the basketball program.

Now is Marshall ready to make a commitment to D’Antoni to give him the tools he feels is necessary to sustain future success?

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Comments

  • Interesting123

    D'antoni is telling it like it is. Mike Hamrick inherited a mess across the board. He has improved things and its starting to show especially in football. It will take time to raise the funds and make the changes needed for MU to get where everyone wants. Hamrick has shown a the ability to make things happen including millions in facility and budget upgrades. In time, this will be no different.

    • J Whittaker

      Maybe Dan will hit the Powerball. Or maybe better yet, he can get a group of supporters together to buy a bunch of lottery tickets every week. They can then pledge to send all of their winnings to Marshall athletics. Unfortunately, in today's economy, that's about the only way he's going to raise the money he needs to keep up with the Joneses!

      • Interesting123

        Since Hamrick has arrived there have been approximately $40 million dollars in athletic facility upgrades. This list of needs was long when he arrived, but the needs are being met. If you dont think thats the case you havent been paying attention. The new IPF, academic center, hall of fame, and Sports Med. Center that will include X-ray, MRI, and hydrotherapy facilities is first class and is evidence of this. Things are moving forward at MU and in time basketball will be no different.

      • Aaron

        Have you been to Huntington lately? MU built a new soccer stadium, a new football practice facility, a new engineering building, a new parking garage and there are plans for upgrades to student housing, more classroom buildings, and a baseball stadium. Why can't upgrades to the basketball facility be added?

  • Chris

    He is speaking the truth. Some local highschools have better practice facilities with 6-8 baskets to shoot on. Hamrick has done a great job raising money since he has been there. I am sure basketball is next on his list.

  • richard

    everything dan says is true. he's not the problem. hamricks the problem by not raising the money dan needs to upgrade. either you're fully committed or you're not!

  • Jason

    I hope so. The program really can only go up from here. Win and the $ will follow.

  • Jdawg

    Ya don't have enougjt $$$$ to bring basketball up to par in this tiny area much less support a small football team in a weak conference, this isn't big boy athletics lol

    • Herd98

      The jealous eer fan always has to put his 2 cents in. We are winning have our players up for major awards and receiving recognition, I know it's hard for you to deal with with another embarrasing season looming over you but give it a break. I have no doubt basketball is moving up and with it the facilities then the WVU crowd will have something else to be jelaous of. Go Herd!

    • Aaron

      Tiny area? Huntington is the second largest city in the West Virginia and together with Ashland, Ironton and the surrounding tri-state area boast a population well over 100,000 people. That seems about twice the size as Morgantown and it's surrounding area, don't you think!!!

      • Joe

        not that this has anything to do with WVU but Mon County has passed Cabell to join the 100,000 club along with Kanawha and Berkley. Morgantown added 1700 people in 2013 per the US census. Say what you will but Motown is exploding with growth (both population and infrastructure) right now and even Charleston better keep its eye on the rear view mirror!

    • Greg

      Dan is sounding like Dana Holgerson - already making excuses and demands knowing it doesn't look pretty for the foreseeable future. Dan may have bitten off more than he can chew, ala wvu in the big12

  • bill

    Same complaints Donnie Jones had, two coaches later the problem is still not solved. Sooo, Dan, call Mike( as in Dantoni not Hamrick) if you want help.