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Nagy (19 seasons), (17) and (14 plus) have supplied solidity to their programs and the department through its first decade at the D I level.
in program history.
ï»¿SDSU coaching roots endure new landscape
Longevity wins out
It's the only school in the NCAA Division I ranks that has had the same head coaches in the marquee sports of , men's basketball and women's basketball since 2000 or earlier. The Jackrabbits have retained John , Nagy and , respectively, through the trying reclassification process despite success that's made them viable candidates for more lucrative jobs all three have been to multiple NCAA tournaments in the last three years and without being able to offer multi year contracts because of state regulations.
SDSU has had only two athletic directors since 1990 and two presidents since 1998. Both sets of administrations have placed an importance on athletics in the process of growing the university, first in making the Division I move, then in getting the department up to speed in terms of scholarships, salaries and facilities largely through private fundraising.
All three are the longest tenured active coaches in their conferences. Nagy and own program records for wins, and is two shy of joining them.
"They were committed to seeing through the transition and understood that they had coaches that had bought into what the philosophy was," said Nagy, who has 360 career wins. "I just think the main thing is this is a really good place to work."
SDSU head coaches Nagy (left, men basketball), John (center, ) and (women basketball) are the only combined Division I coaches to stay at the same school since 2000.(Photo: Elisha Page / Argus Leader)
The three coaches have found ways to push for the needs of their programs without making it an in house argument. Instead, they'll often compare themselves to like programs, usually conference foes.
is the only coach in the trio who grew up in South Dakota and got his undergraduate degree from SDSU. He's also the only one who didn't play college sports. But all three were assistants with the Jacks before taking over, meaning they knew what they were getting into in Brookings and embraced the opportunity, crafting similarly long tenures in different ways.
That's a foreign concept to some in the profession. got a sense for that upon meeting UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel at the wedding of a common assistant.
Despite outside warnings that reclassification could be a career killer, and have propelled their programs to more success in D I than in D II. Women's basketball has been to the postseason eight years in a row, reaching the NCAA tourney in each of its first five years of eligibility. Football has been to three postseasons in five years after just one playoff appearance previously Orange Gucci Shoes
"Winning is important to all of us, but so is how you go about it," he said. "You may have a few ups and downs, but if you're doing everything right and you feel like you are going to get back to it we tend to work with that and understand it and value that, and in turn you get a lot of loyalty."
SDSU is very different than the closest contender in the coaching timeline Villanova, a private school in Philadelphia. It has had its three marquee coaches since at least 2001.
director Justin Sell worked there from 1995 99. He sees a few similarities such as an emphasis on academics.
Frankly, the Gucci Sneakers Pictures D I move was helpful in that regard mostly, anyway. It kept things fresh by presenting new and difficult challenges. It also provided a promotion and multiple pay raises. All three are at or approaching in salary, more than double where they started.
program to experience extended periods of struggle during the transition, enduring four 20 loss seasons in a row and a pair of legal issues for players. (Ultimately, both were exonerated.) But the school was patient with Nagy and he righted the ship, reaching the first two Big Dances in SDSU history in 2012 and '13, pulling off its first top 25 upset and producing the school's first NBA draft pick in 30 years Milwaukee Bucks guard Nate Wolters.
came the closest to leaving. In 2007, he briefly accepting the job at Green Bay only to change his mind during a flight to the introductory press conference. has long called this his dream job; he was turned off by the major conference lifestyle during experience with it as a young assistant. Nagy has been approached about other gigs, but said that he's never sought employment elsewhere.
Of the nine men's basketball teams in the Summit League, five will have new leaders next season. The Jacks' transitional partner North Dakota State has had turnover in all three sports in the past six months, two leaving for promotions and one for lack of results. The University of South Dakota has had nine people in those three positions since the turn of the century.
"When I look at the college landscape and how many people have knee jerk reactions to one or two bad years and I think one person is going to make an amazing impact very few of those work out," said , who is 341 117 in his career with a winning percentage of .850 in Summit League games. "Success is a culture."
"Surely, it's a mix of the environment here the working environment and the support of the people above you," said , who has a career mark of 111 81. "Both are very, very, very positive."
The stakes are higher in terms of dollars and exposure yet a sense of level headedness (so far) seems to have prevailed in the power programs. Coaches aren't desperate to leave when they win; fans and administrators aren't anxious to push them out when they don't.
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An uncommon culture
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They're choosing to stick around at a time when that's not the norm.
Not standing pat is vital to successfully staying in one place for so long. And, again, unique circumstances allowed for that to happen in the state's largest school.
"He asked me if I ever tried to leave," recalled. "He was amazed I coached there for 24 years."
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