The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

December 26, 2012

Mullens native D’Antoni brings innovative coaching style to Lakers

Top 5 stories of 2012

 Editor's Note: This is the first in a series counting down the top five local sports stories of 2012. We’ll be counting down with one story each day, culminating with the release of the top local sports story of the year on Dec. 31.

Mullens native Mike D’Antoni was named the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers on November 13 following the firing of former head coach Mike Brown, after the Lakers opened the 2012-2013 NBA season with a 1-4 record.

D’Antoni signed a three-year contract, worth $12 million, with an option for a fourth year, with an NBA franchise that already had W.Va. connections in the past in state natives and WVU graduates Hot Rod Hundley and Jerry West — the latter a Pro Basketball Hall of Fame member and player, coach and general manager with the Lakers.

“This is significant news to an already significant basketball history of West Virginia, Mike being hired to coach one of the most storied basketball teams in the world” said Greg White, a friend of D’Antoni, former head coach at Marshall University and himself a Mullens native.

“It’s a great opportunity for Mike and his family. He’s been very innovative with his offense in the NBA. It was a tall task, being hired five games into the season without a training camp and (himself) coming off a knee surgery. But he’ll get it going there. I’m very proud of him. Think about it. For a guy from Mullens to get to coach the Lakers - that’s unbelievable.

“I’m sure there was a huge smile on Jerry West’s face when the announcement was made,” White added.

Through Tuesday, the Lakers were 14-14 overall (13-10 under D’Antoni) and riding a five-game win streak.

In coming to LA, D’Antoni, 61, was reunited with Steve Nash, whom the coach shared the best years of his career with in Phoenix from 2003-2008.

D’Antoni had a less-than-successful stint as head coach for the New York Knicks, where he posted a 115-167 record over four seasons. He resigned as coach of the Knicks on March 14.  

He was also an assistant coach for the gold medal winning Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics under Mike Krzyzewski.

The Lakers had failed to perform well under Brown, a coach known for a slashing and cutting offense, as well as a strong defense. Brown had previously coached LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers before being removed from the position following a 2010 collapse against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Playoffs.

The Lakers had long been rumored to be courting their former coach, 11-time NBA champion Phil Jackson before announcing the D’Antoni hire. Jackson has since stated he was “stunned” by the move to hire D’Antoni over himself and had contacted former assistant coaches about a position on his staff. Jackson had met with Lakers Vice President Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak was also reported as having asked for a different travel schedule than the rest of the team. The legendary coach suffers from several ailments, most recently undergoing a knee replacement.

D’Antoni is known as one of the best offensive minds in all of basketball. He was given the task of maximizing all of the offensive talents the Lakers possess, including Nash, Kobe Bryan, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and their newest addition -- Dwight Howard, a team seemingly built for D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll system.

D’Antoni comes from a historic basketball family. His father, the great Lewis D’Antoni collected 450 wins in his 35 year career at Pineville, Mullens and Chesapeake High in Ohio. His older brother, “Dandy” Dan, serves as an assistant coach on the Lakers staff.

D’Antoni had a stellar college career playing for Marshall University in the 70’s. His number 10 was retired by the Thundering Herd in 2009.  He was drafted by the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in the 2nd round of the 1973 NBA Draft and spent three seasons there.  He would go on to play for the Spirits of St. Louis of the now defunct American Basketball Association for one season before returning to the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs for two games. D’Antoni then spent the following 12 seasons playing for Olimpia Milano in Italy.

Text Only
Other Sports
  • RH 080114saints1.jpg Intensity reaches new level at Saints training camp

    Following their first day off from training camp on Wednesday, the New Orleans Saints reported to their new $30 million practice facility at The Greenbrier Thursday full of energy and with an edge that hadn’t been seen through the first five practices.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • New Orleans practices bring back memories for Haas

    Bob Haas stood back away from the field Thursday, watching the action at the New Orleans Saints Greenbrier training camp intently but avoiding getting too close.

    August 1, 2014

  • West Virginia beats Danville Dans 5-1

    The West Virginia Miners may have their backs against the wall, but they aren’t throwing in the towel yet.

    July 31, 2014

  • Passions are high for the Big Four

    When it comes to the English Premier League, there are clubs and there are kings. 


    July 31, 2014

  • YMCA fall soccer registration underway
    Fall is just around the corner and registration is now open for youth soccer at the YMCA of Southern West Virginia.

    July 31, 2014

  • UBB memorial race Saturday in Princeton

    Princeton Speedway will host the 4th Annual Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial Race Saturday at 7 p.m. 

    July 31, 2014

  • Johnnie Ferri tourney set this weekend

    The 12th annual Johnnie Ferri Softball Tournament will be held Saturday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Aug. 3 at Collins Park.

    July 31, 2014

  • bush Bush making Saints look good

    For his first four seasons, Rafael Bush was simply looking to land on a roster — any roster.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice, not temps, heats up for Saints
    The temperatures may have only been in the low 70s Tuesday afternoon at the Saints new practice facility at The Greenbrier, but now a third of the way into the 15 practices, it’s clear that the heat has turned up with playing time and positions on the line.

    July 30, 2014

  • Bowles has a support system
    Colin Bowles, the 14-year-old little brother of Corey, is coming into his own as a successful athlete. The younger Bowles competed last week at the U.S. Junior Amateur in The Woodlands, Texas, making the cut before bowing out in match play. Right there beside Colin, as he has been his entire life, was older brother Corey,

    July 30, 2014

Saints Training Camp

AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide