|Posted by Brian Dickmann on April 14, 2015 at 2:50 PM|
The Green Bay Phoenix finally have a new head coach.
On Friday, David Kaplan of Comcast Sports Net Chicago and WGN reported Florida Southern's Linc Darner would be the new coach of the Phoenix. That may have jumped the gun a little bit, with a source telling the Green Bay Press-Gazette's Scott Venci that Green Bay had not offered the job to Darner and that interviews were still being conducted over the weekend.
Even the coach himself denied the report on Friday evening, telling The Ledger, "Those reports are all wrong. I have not been offered anything. There has been no offer. I have not been to Green Bay. I'm busy with recruits right now, and I'm getting ready for next year with Florida Southern."
On Tuesday afternoon however, Green Bay announced that he would indeed be the 7th head coach in the school’s history. The 44-year old Darner will be replacing Brian Wardle, who left on March 27th to become the head coach at Bradley.
“From the very start of our process, Linc’s experience as a head coach impressed all of us,” Green Bay athletic director Mary Ellen Gillespie said in a statement released by the school. “He has had tremendous success as a basketball coach and will be an outstanding coach and mentor for our student-athletes. He is a proven winner, and on top of the wins, he runs outstanding programs.”
“After a thorough and comprehensive search process, there is no doubt he is a perfect fit for this institution and our men’s basketball program.”
Darner was named the NABC National Coach of the Year in Division 2 this season after leading the Mocs to a 36-1 record and a NCAA Division 2 national championship. They finished 5th in the nation in scoring this year at 87.9 points per game while allowing just 74 points per game on defense.
In nine seasons at Florida Southern, Darner compiled a 218-72 record, made eight NCAA Tournament appearances, and won six conference titles.
An Indiana native, he played collegiately at Purdue under Gene Keady from 1990-1994 and was the first player in program history to be named captain twice.
"This is an incredibly exciting opportunity that I have been preparing for since I began my coaching career,” Darner said in a statement. “I am honored and grateful to lead the Green Bay Phoenix men's basketball program. Thank you to Director of Athletics Mary Ellen Gillespie and Chancellor Gary Miller for giving me the opportunity to build upon the Phoenix foundation and compete for championships. My family and I are excited to make Green Bay our home and we look forward to being a part of the community.”
Other candidates who interviewed for the position with Gillespie at the Final Four in Indianapolis include former Green Bay associate head coach Brian Barone, St. Norbert College head coach Gary Grzesk, Cardinal Stritch head coach Drew Diener, and Miami assistant coach Eric Konkol. Brooklyn Nets assistant Joe Wolf is also believed to have interviewed for the position.
The process took 17 days in total, a day longer than 5 years ago when Ken Bothof ultimately hired Wardle to replace Tod Kowalczyk, who left to be the head coach at Toledo.