No basketball coach in the MVC more embodied his school’s program than Dana Altman at Creighton. After 16 seasons, he was responsible for every bit of Creighton’s recent success – its defining move to the Qwest Center, its streak of 20-win seasons and post-season play and NBA talent Kyle Korver, Anthony Tolliver and Rodney Buford.
He coached against Tulsa in MVC games, for crying out loud. So his departure to Oregon is one of the bigger stories of recent years in the MVC.
Creighton hasn’t had any non-Altman success since 1991. Every other school is used to this transition and many proved they can rebuild, regardless of who is coaching. It’s not easy, as Wichita State’s experience shows, but there’s a blueprint. This is all new in Omaha.
Creighton can do it, as well, but it’s a monumental change. There seemed to be a vocal group, likely a minority, of Bluejay fans who wanted to see what the program could do with new blood. They will get their chance. Creighton is a great job, and athletic director Bruce Rasmussen will choose from many excellent candidates. It is a critical choice for his program, and the MVC. The Valley could count on Creighton for a good schedule and good results. A step back, when so many other programs appear to be improving, hurts the conference.
Creighton players found out Saturday afternoon at the Qwest Center while playing. Other MVC schools combined for 23 coaching changes since Altman started at Creighton for the 1994-95 season. Who’s next – and could it involve a Valley member? Omaha.com’s reaction remix. After 37 days and several rejections, Oregon picked Altman. The Ducks are ready to hear what the new coach has to say. Oregon fans may wait a few days before feeling secure.
Valley coaches by tenure Jim Les – eight seasons at Bradley
Chris Lowery – six at Southern Illinois
Ben Jacobson – four at Northern Iowa
Gregg Marshall – three at Wichita State
Marty Simmons – three at Evansville
Tim Jankovich – three at Illinois State
Kevin McKenna – three at Indiana State
Cuonzo Martin – two at Missouri State
Mark Phelps – two at Drake