Sam Webb mentioned this morning that he's heard that Billy Donlon, former HC at Wright State, is in consideration for one of the open assistant coach positions on the basketball team. Sam added that he hasn't been able to confirm this. FWIW, we've had a poster state that he knows Donlon will get one of the positions (with Saddi Washington getting the other).
The purpose of this post is to introduce Donlon and to give a bit of context to his record at Wright State. I figure that even if Donlon is not one of the new assistants, well hey, you're getting free Wright State info!
A bit on Wright State:
They've only made the NCAA Tournament twice, with the last time being in 2007. They've only won their conference regular season title once (also in 2007). They are very much the second bananna to the Univ. of Dayton's program as far as the Dayton area goes. The most games they've ever won in a season as a D1 program is 23.
The Raiders play in the Ervin J. Nutter Center, which seats about 10k people for basketball. I went to elementary school with Ervin J. Nutter's granddaughter. Can you believe it?!
Donlon is 39. He was Wright State's HC from 2010-2016. He was their associate HC from 2006-2010. He won the Horizon League Coach of the Year award in 2013.
Wright State fired him after the 2016 season despite the fact that his team won 22 games total and 13 Horizon League games, the most Horizon League games the Raiders had ever won. His career winning percentage at Wright State was 53.7%, which is almost exactly equal to the program's all-time D1 winning percentage.
Several coaches and former coaches were upset by Donlon's firing. Dan Dakich said the National Association of Basketball Coaches ought to boycott the open HC position at Wright State (they did not). (*1). Chris Mack of Xavier called the firing "ridiculous." (*2).
My own two cents is that Wright State has often punched above its weight during its time as a D1 program and that it's done well to achieve what is has. It would be a truly outstanding coaching job to make the Raiders a yearly visitor to the NCAA Tournament. Wright State should remember that it's big brother, Dayton, has only recently been a regular visitor to the Tournament.
Donlon and defense:
If Donlon is hired, his youth and apparent defensive acumen will probably have a lot to do with it. As far as defensive efficiency, his Wright State teams finished 50th in the country (2015-2016), 250th (2014-2015), 29th (2013-2014), 26th (2012-2013), 93rd (2011-2012), and 132nd (2010-2011) while he was HC. While was assistant HC, they finished 60th (2009-2010), 10th (2008-2009), 99th (2007-2008), and 87th (2006-2007).
The 250th ranking in 2014-2015 likely jumps out at you, but he deserves a break when it comes to that year. The Raiders suffered a string of injuries so bad that season that at one point they suited up for four conference games without their top six players. (*3).
Donlon seems like great candidate to me. Winning 22 games overall and 13 conference games at Wright State is pretty darn good in my opinion. As I mentioned - and I cannot emphasize this enough - we're talking about a program in the Dayton, Ohio area that is not the region's preeminent basketball team. So there are, like, limits, man, on what you can expect. And while his teams haven't been great at defense each year, he's had some significant success on that front.
Barring a last-minute change of heart, source told ESPN that Michigan sophomore Kameron Chatman will transfer.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 3, 2016
There's an obvious choice when it comes to replacing Lavall Jordan on the Michigan staff and he resides in Ames, Iowa. Cornell Mann is an excellent recruiter and is responsible for attracting Monte Morris among others from Michigan to play at Iowa State. He also coached at Oak Park high school and with the Michigan Mustangs AAU team. ISU led the big 12 in scoring for three straight years under his watch and they also made a school record four straight ncaa tourneys. Going with an unproven guy like Chris Hunter or someone else on staff would be a mistake imo when we are at such a critical stage in our basketball program with a clear need in recruiting.
As a Pistons fan, I'm happy about this. He just had the worst FT season in NBA history, so it's not like he could get any worse if he started shooting underhanded.