Altman Hired By Arkansas After 13 Seasons At Creighton
Ends the Razorbacks' weeklong search to replace Stan Heath
April 2, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Dana Altman was hired as Arkansas' coach on Monday, ending the Razorbacks' weeklong search to replace Stan Heath.
Altman was previously the coach at Creighton. He went 260-141 in 13 seasons there. The Bluejays went 22-11 this season for their ninth straight 20-win season, a Missouri Valley Conference record.
Altman is 343-208 in 18 years at the Division I level. He coached at Marshall and Kansas State before going to Creighton. The 48-year-old Altman was to be introduced at a news conference at Arkansas' Bud Walton Arena, where crowds gradually dwindled during Heath's five-year run.
Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles fired Heath on March 26. The Razorbacks made the NCAA tournament in 2006 and 2007, but lost in the first round both years.
Heath was hired after taking Kent State to the round of eight in the NCAA tournament in 2002, but that was his first season as a head coach. This time, Arkansas was eyeing Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie - then the Razorbacks received permission to talk to Memphis coach John Calipari.
Instead, the Razorbacks ended up with another coach from a mid-major conference, although the Missouri Valley has done a lot to shed that label in recent years. Altman might not be the big name many Arkansas fans wanted, but his credentials are solid. Creighton has been to the NCAA tournament seven times in the last nine seasons and won a school-record 29 games in 2002-03.
Creighton loses Altman just a few days after assistant Kevin McKenna left to take over the Indiana State program. The Bluejays lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Nevada, 77-71 in overtime.
Arkansas has fallen from the heights it enjoyed under Nolan Richardson during the mid-1990s. The Razorbacks have not won an NCAA tournament game since 1999. Broyles fired Richardson in 2002 believing the coach had lost confidence in the program.
Former Razorbacks coach Eddie Sutton also came to Arkansas from Creighton.
Heath agreed Monday to a five-year contract to take over South Florida's struggling program.