HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall head women’s basketball coach Matt Daniel has resigned, the athletics department announced Sunday morning.
Daniel, a native of Jonesboro, Ark., departs after posting 71 wins in his five seasons. During his tenure, he led the school to two of its three all-time postseason appearances as an NCAA program with bids to the WBI in 2015 (and first postseason win during that era) and its first trip to the WNIT in 2016. That season, his Thundering Herd piled up 21 wins, Marshall’s most in nearly three decades, allowing him to be named to the inaugural Conference USA Coaches Circle.
“I am so thankful for our time here,” said Daniel. “Having both of our daughters born here, this place will always be special to us. Given my wife’s work as a dentist, we were offered an opportunity to return home to Arkansas that we couldn’t pass up. While I don’t know what the future holds for me professionally, this decision really isn’t about me. I am doing what I believe is best for us and giving our children the opportunity to grow up around their extended family.”
“I can’t underscore enough how much I appreciate the people at Marshall understanding the importance of this situation. It reflects how much they truly get it and I will be around for another week or so to say the proper goodbyes.”
In 2016-17, Marshall connected on a school-record 237 3-pointers and began the season with a 55-53 win at Illinois, the program’s first win over a Power 5 school in nearly a decade.
He also coached Leah Scott, who became the Thundering Herd’s first first-team Conference USA honoree in 2016.
In Daniel’s second season, his Thundering Herd became the lowest seed to advance in a conference tournament when, as a 16 seed, it defeated ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic 80-73 in the opening round of the 2014 Conference USA Tournament.
On his watch, Marshall gradually increased its proficiency in virtually every offensive category over the course of his five seasons. His teams also set, and broke, multiple program scoring and 3-point records as the Thundering Herd made the most of an exciting system that emphasized perimeter offense.
Recruiting was a cornerstone of his time in Huntington, with a renewed commitment to signing local talent. That yielded the nation’s 34th-ranked class in 2017 and a rating of No. 52 in 2016.
Marshall also excelled in the classroom in the past five seasons, as it placed 28 members on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll (3.0 cumulative GPA or better) and three more were given the Commissioner’s Academic Medal (3.75).
“On behalf of everyone associated with Marshall Athletics, I want to thank Matt for his contribution to our women’s basketball program,” said Marshall Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick. “He and his staff have shepherded a new level of success into our program, with back-to-back postseason appearances and the first 20-win season. Marshall has always been a place where family comes first so, of course, we understand and support Matt’s decision.”
Daniel came to Huntington from Central Arkansas, where he coached four years and piled up three seasons of at least 21 wins. He led those Sugar Bears to a 2011 trip to the WBI and had a 2012 campaign that ended with a regular season Southland Conference title and a berth in the WNIT.