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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Dakich departs

Carpe Diem.

Dan Dakich must have known an opportunity like what West Virginia University was offering him only comes along every so often, and he seized it. He is taking 89 career head coaching wins and leaving Bowling Green for Morgantown, W. Va., where he was named head basketball coach of the Mountaineers yesterday.

Dakich leaves as one of the most successful coaches in University history. His .610 winning percentage ranks second on the school’s all-time list for coaches with at least five years’ experience, behind Harold Anderson. His 24 wins this season was the most of his career.

“I couldn’t be happier for Dan and (wife) Jackie,” said Director of Athletics Paul Krebs. “In the three years I’ve been here, there hasn’t been anybody who’s worked any harder on the court and away from the team promoting the University.”

The move is a dramatic increase in both salary and profile for the 39 year old graduate of Indiana. His five-year contract with West Virginia is reportedly worth 500,000 per year, more than four times his final base salary at BG of about $112,000 per year.

Dakich is moving to the Big East, a powerhouse conference which sent six schools to the NCAA tournament last month. He is charged with rebuilding a Mountaineer program at the bottom of the conference heap. West Virginia finished 8-20 overall this season, 1-15 in the Big East.

The Mountaineers had been without a head coach since February when Gale Catlett retired after 24 seasons. West Virginia’s search had included high-profile names like Cincinnati’s Bob Huggins, but no takers.

“We respect his decision,” BG guard Cory Ryan said about the team. “It’s a state of shock because we don’t have a coach right now, (but) everybody is excited for him.”

Krebs said he accepts the fact that having success at the mid-major level means bigger schools will come after a coach. I don’t begrudge anybody,” he said. “I told this to Dan and I’ll tell any head coach we hire: If and when you leave here, and we’re a better program than when you came, that’s all we can ask.”

Krebs declined to comment on specific candidates to replace Dakich, but said the ideal candidate would have a winning background.

“If we can get someone with head coaching experience, that’s great, but I think as critical as that is that they’ve been somewhere where they’ve been successful,” Krebs said.

Dakich voiced his support for his top assistant, Keith Noftz, to be considered for the job. If Noftz is not hired by BG, he will most likely go with fellow assistants Art Pepelea and Sean Bledsoe to Dakich’s staff at West Virginia.

This is the fourth head coaching change for a major BG athletic team in 15 months. Women’s basketball and football have both hired new coaches, and hockey is conducting a search.

Dakich spent 15 seasons with the Indiana basketball program as a player and coach for Bob Knight. The biggest highlight of his playing career was his defensive effort against Michael Jordan in the 1984 NCAA tournament, holding him to 12 points as the Hoosiers upset North Carolina.

After his playing days, he became the only Indiana player to move directly onto the coaching staff during Knight’s tenure. He became Knight’s top assistant in 1990, and became head coach of the Falcons in April 1997.

An emotional Dakich addressed the media last night, his formal good-bye to BG.

“This has been an interesting couple of day for me,” he said. “And as you sit there and write the pros and cons, I couldn’t come up with any cons of Bowling Green … I mean, I just couldn’t come up with anything negative. I don’t think there are too many college coaches who can say that.”

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