26 years ago today, power forward Danny Manning led the Larry Brown coached Kansas Jayhawks to a National Championship, scoring 31 points against the Oklahoma Sooners.
For the past two college basketball seasons, Manning has been the head coach at the University of Tulsa, where his efforts culminated in a 21-13 record, tying for first in Conference USA. He led the Golden Hurricanes to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to UCLA.
Now, he’s on the move again, having agreed to become the new head coach at Wake Forest University with hopes of restoring the Demon Deacons to their former glory.
— Wake Forest Sports (@DemonDeacons) April 4, 2014
In 1988, the Los Angeles Clippers drafted forward Manning with the first overall pick. Unfortunately, before he ever managed to get his promising career going, he suffered a torn ACL—which required the first reconstructive surgery in his career.
Manning went on to play for six more teams (Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons) before calling it a career in 2003. His passion for basketball led him back to his college alma mater, Kansas, where he began working on head coach Bill Self’s staff as a team manager.
At the end of the 2006-07 season, he was promoted as an assistant. He remained on the Jayhawks’ staff through the 2011-12 season, having helped Kansas to an NCAA National Championship in 2008 before leaving for the head coach opening in Tulsa.
Markieff Morris, the Phoenix Suns’ present day power forward and one of the NBA big men who he was able to mentor as an assistant in Kansas, took to Twitter to give show support.
— Keef Morris (@Keefmorris) April 4, 2014
Best of luck to Coach Manning in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
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