Dan Priest, former head coach at Hendrix, has been hired as head men's basketball coach at Kenyon, it was announced Tuesday. He replaces Matt Croci, who resigned after seven seasons with the Kenyon program with a record of 66-110.
Priest carries with him a resume loaded with Ohio basketball ties and success in turning around struggling programs. In 2004, he inherited a 0-23 team at Hendrix and within three years had the Warriors boasting a 15-10 mark. During a three-year stretch from 2007 through 2009, his Hendrix squads posted three straight winning seasons and made three consecutive trips to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament. In 2008-09, the Warriors rang up a program-best 19-7 overall record.
At Kenyon, Priest will take over a team that showed consistent improvement under Croci, but fell on hard times recently and closed out the 2009-10 season with a 6-19 overall record and a 3-13 mark in North Coast Athletic Conference play.
"It will take some time to judge the exact strengths and weaknesses of the basketball program right now, but I am very excited about its current overall state," Priest said. "Matt [Croci] did a fantastic job of establishing a committed and sound program that can compete in the NCAC. I look forward to building on those things as we strive to move forward. Given where the program is and the potential of the future, I think it is an exciting time for Kenyon basketball."
Prior to his six seasons at Hendrix, Priest spent five years as
head coach at NAIA Ohio Dominican, where he took a Panther program
that averaged seven wins in the previous three seasons and
converted it into a program that averaged 18 wins a season during
his tenure. His time at Ohio Dominican also included three runs in
the American Mideast Conference tournament, three appearances in
the NAIA's Top 20 polls, and an overall record of 90-71.
Priest's past coaching experiences also cover seven years as an assistant at Hanover and brief stints as a graduate assistant at Indiana State and Miami (Ohio).
A native of Oxford, Ohio, Priest earned his master's degree in sports studies from Miami in 1997 and completed his bachelor's degree at Ohio Northern in 1990. He was a three-year letterman at ONU and helped lead the Polar Bears to the NCAA Tournament in 1988. He still holds the school's career three-point field goal percentage record (.486).
"I'm really eager to get started," Priest said. "I was attracted to Kenyon because of its national reputation for academic excellence and its commitment to athletics. Kenyon is able to provide student-athletes with a life-changing experience in so many ways and the recent addition of the Kenyon Athletic Center provides the campus with facilities that are second to none."