West Virginia Hires Bowling Green's Dakich

Updated 4/21/1997

From AP and wire sources

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Dan Dakich has been named West Virginia University's 20th head basketball coach, WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong announced today.

Dakich played at Indiana and was an assistant to Bob Knight for 11 years there. At West Virginia, he'll try to rebuild a team that set records for losses in two of the past four seasons and was racked with discipline problems.

The Mountaineers were 8-20 this season, 1-15 in the Big East.

Dakich replaces Gale Catlett, who retired in February after 24 seasons with the Mountaineers and a school-record 565 wins.

Dakich is 89-57 in five seasons at Bowling Green, without a trip to the NCAA tournament. The Falcons went 24-9 this season - the school's most victories in more than half a century - and played in the NIT for the second time in three years.

At Bowling Green, Dakich compiled an 89-57 record (.610) in his five seasons with the Falcons, making him the second winningest coach in terms of percentage and fifth in victories in the school's basketball history. His winning percentage also ranks him sixth all-time among Mid-American Conference coaches.

Dakich, 39, had the highest conference winning percentage (.611) among active MAC coaches (three years or more in the league) and guided the Falcons to four straight winning seasons, averaging more than 19 wins during that stretch.

Dakich's accomplishments rank him with the nation's top young university coaches. In addition, he has seen seven of nine seniors earn their degrees and had five players sign professional contracts. Three members of his 2002 senior class will have earned their degrees by the end of this spring.

This past season, Bowling Green finished with a 24-9 record, the most wins for the Falcons since the 1948-49 season, and earned its second postseason berth in three seasons. The Falcons beat NCAA Tournament teams UNC Wilmington and Ole Miss, and advanced to the MAC tournament championship game for the first time since 1983. Bowling Green also had a 12-game winning streak, the fourth longest in school history. Dakich also coached MAC Player of the Year in Keith McLeod, the second-leading scorer in school history.

In 1999-2000, Dakich led Bowling Green to the regular season MAC title with a 14-4 record, the school's eighth league crown and first outright since 1982-83. In addition, his club won the Nextell Challenge in Hawai'i, finished among the national leaders in field goal percentage, won 10 road games, produced the MAC Player of the Year and Bowling Green all-time scoring leader in Anthony Stacey and earned a berth to the NIT.

With a full year in Dakich's system during the 1998-99 season, the Falcons enjoyed an 18-win season, an eight-game improvement over his first year. Bowling Green finished third in the East Division of the MAC. In Dakich's last four seasons with the Falcons, Bowling Green posted a 48-24 MAC record, the second best among the 13 league members during that stretch.

Dakich became the 14th head coach at Bowling Green on April 21, 1997. He had spent 16 seasons at Indiana, the first four as a player and the last 12 as an assistant coach.

Dakich moved right from being a player for Indiana to the coaching side of the game. After completing his playing career in 1984-85, he became a member of Bob Knight's staff the following season, spending his first two years as a graduate assistant coach. He became Knight's top assistant coach in 1990. He is the only basketball player for Knight who has moved directly to an assistant coaching position without leaving the Indiana program.

As an assistant at Indiana, the Hoosiers won a national title (1986-87), earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament in each of his 12 seasons, captured four Big Ten titles while finishing third or better in nine of the 12 years, coached six All-Americans and three national Player of the Year candidates, including 1993 Player of the Year Calbert Cheaney, worked with three Big Ten MVPs, and academically, graduated every four-year player to go through the program (he was the academic monitor on the IU basketball staff his last seven years). Dakich coached 10 players at Indiana who either play or have played in the NBA.

Dakich helped the Indiana program win 74 percent of its games over the 12 years he served as an assistant coach while the Hoosiers were winning over 70 percent of its Big Ten contests over the same period.

West Virginia originally pursued Bob Huggins, an alumnus, but the coach said March 25 that he would stay at Cincinnati. Kent State's Stan Heath then visited Morgantown, but he took the job at Arkansas the next day. Tennessee Tech's Jeff Lebo removed his name from contention Saturday, and Southern Illinois coach Bruce Weber withdrew Monday.

West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong also met with several assistant coaches.

As a player, Dakich served as team captain both his junior (1983-84) and senior (1984-85) seasons. He is best remembered for his excellent defensive effort against Michael Jordan in Indiana's upset of North Carolina in the 1984 NCAA East Regional.

Dakich is probably best remembered for shutting down Michael Jordan in the 1984 NCAA regional semifinals. Dakich held Jordan to 13 points and one rebound in his final game at North Carolina as the Hoosiers upset the top-ranked Tar Heels 72-68.

Much like Knight, Dakich's practices are intense. He storms the sidelines during games and he preaches defense.

"He's a non-nonsense guy, one who doesn't pull any punches and he gets the job done," Pastilong said this week. "But what we really like about him is the attention he pays to the total student-athlete. He gets his guys to class, he gets them to work and he gets them to play basketball the way they should."