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April 19, 2012KENT, Ohio - After a near month long search, the Kent State Golden Flashes women's basketball team has finally found its new head coach. Danielle O'Banion comes to Kent State from the University of Memphis, where she spent the last four years - the last two as the associate head coach - for the Lady Tigers.
With a reputation for being an excellent recruiter, O'Banion leaves Memphis after three consecutive postseason berths.
"Danielle possesses the characteristics we look for, not only as an institution, but within our department," said Joel Nielsen, Kent State's athletic director. "She's a very driven person and someone who's very confident in her abilities. Her reputation as a winner and a proven national recruiter are sure to bring energy and success to our women's basketball program."
Aside from her prowess on the recruiting trail, O'Banion has also helped usher 29 straight seniors to graduation, and this last fall six Lady Tigers registered a 3.0 GPA.
In her ten years as a college assistant, O'Banion has been in the postseason nine times, including a final four trip and two Sweet 16 trips while at the University of Minnesota between 2003-2007.
She will bring a renewed energy to a program that will have a new head coach for the first time in 23 years after the dismissal of longtime coach Bob Lindsay last month.
"I hold the responsibility of representing the Kent State Community in high regard and I am eager to help young people realize their dreams in the blue and gold," said O'Banion. "I could not be more excited to be here. I want to thank University President Dr. Lester Lefton, Provost Todd Diacon, Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen and sport supervisor Tom Kleinlein for giving me this great opportunity."
O'Banion served as the recruiting coordinator for Memphis, and was also responsible for the development of the Tigers' perimeter players. She was instrumental in their high-pressure defensive style that yielded a Conference USA best 11.8 steals per game in 2012.
As a student-athlete at Boston College, O'Banion was a member of two NCAA tournament teams, the first two appearances in the school's history. She was a co-captain as a senior and earned her degree in psychology in 2001.
Melissa McFerrin, the head coach at Memphis on her now departed associate:
"Danielle is the ultimate professional and, I think, a great young head coach. She certainly impacted the development of our program here at the University of Memphis, from both a recruiting standpoint and from a coaching standpoint. Kent State is very, very fortunate to have someone of Danielle's talent, character and expertise. She will be a great leader for the Kent State program."
At just 33 years old, O'Banion will take over a team that struggled mightily last year, as they finished 6-21 and 1-10 outside of the MAC conference. The Golden Flashes youth may have played a major part in that struggle; six of the ten players on the 2011-2012 roster were freshman.
Kent State NEWS