MU athletic team gets soaked for charity
HUNTINGTON — Dan D’Antoni made some challenges Monday.
He challenged the Marshall Thundering Herd men’s basketball team he coaches to take everything they’ve been taught in about six weeks of summer workouts, allow it to sink in and come back in August ready for more work.
“We’ve thrown it all at them at one time,” he said. “They have to think quicker. They have to react to things quicker. We’ll get there.”
D’Antoni was hired April 24 and set out to change the culture.
The players all ran June 21 in the West Virginia 5K Championship and everyone finished, but their coach wasn’t happy about how they approached it.
“If it says race or game you’re looking to win it, not just be in it,” he said.
D’Antoni’s second challenge was for charity.
Following the two-hour workout D’Antoni, assistant coach Chris Duhon and athletic director Mike Hamrick met the Chillin4Charity Challenge by having coolers of ice water dumped on their heads to benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
The V Foundation was started by N.C. State head coach Jim Valvano before his death in 1993.
D’Antoni and Valvano were opposing point guards for Marshall and Rutgers respectively in a 1967 National Invitation Tournament game at Madison Square Garden. Their relationship continued when D’Antoni coached at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach.
“He was a remarkable person,” said D’Antoni, who had water dumped on him by Marshall women’s head coach Matt Daniel.
The Chillin4Charity movement began with women’s basketball programs for the Kay Yow Foundation. Marshall is getting it started in men’s basketball.
Coaches and other people who meet the challenge in turn challenge their colleagues.
Marshall women’s head coach Matt Daniel, who was doused with cold water May 20 for the Kay Yow Foundation, challenged the former Herd men’s coaching staff of Billy Donovan — John Pelphrey, Anthony Grant and Donnie Jones. Daniel said that group of coaches introduced him to Marshall 20 years ago as a recruit.
“If they accept, I personally donate $25,” said Daniel, who emceed Monday’s event outside the Marshall men’s basketball offices at Cam Henderson Center. “If they don’t accept within 48 hours, they have to donate $250.”
D’Antoni passed his challenge to other Conference USA head coaches and Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan who he worked with in 2012 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Duhon was doused by Marshall men’s basketball director of operations John Janovsky. He challenged the assistant coaches he played for at Duke University — Stanford University head coach Johnny Dawkins, Northwestern University head coach Chris Collins and Marquette University head coach Steve Wojciechowski.
Hamrick’s dousing came from Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato. Hamrick made challenges to West Virginia University athletic director Oliver Luck; Wake Forest University athletic director Ron Wellman who he worked with at Illinois State; and Marshall associate athletic director for external affairs Aaron Goebbel.