|Muller establishes assistant staff|
|Written by Todd Marver, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Tuesday, 19 June 2012 15:55|
The man who scored the game-winning basket in ISU’s last victory in the Big Dance during the 1998 NCAA men’s basketball tournament has been back on campus for over a month after being named the new coach of the Redbirds May 8 to conclude his 14-year hiatus away from the program.
Dan Muller, a Vanderbilt assistant coach for the last 12 years, has been hard at work since taking over as former head coach Tim Jankovich’s successor and his entire assistant coaching staff is now in place.
Rob Judson is the lone assistant coach from the "Jankovich Era" that has been retained, while former assistants Paris Parham and Anthony Beane are no longer affiliated with the program. The former Northern Illinois head coach was in the running to be at the helm of the Redbirds, but Judson is eager to team up with Muller and continue strengthening the program.
"I’m looking forward to working with coach Dan Muller and building Redbird basketball to the highest level," he said. "I’m delighted to continue coaching this group of student-athletes at Illinois State. It is an exciting time for Redbird basketball."
Muller believes Judson is a valuable resource on the staff.
"I’m very excited about Rob staying with us," he said. "He’s been in the state of Illinois and he’s been successful everywhere he’s been. From everyone I’ve spoken to and from my brief experiences with him here, he will be a huge asset to our program and I’m looking forward to working with him."
Two new assistant coaches, Dana Ford and Torrey Ward, have been brought in, replacing the duo of Parham and Beane that has departed. Ford, another former ISU men’s basketball athlete, is back in Normal after playing for the Redbirds from 2002 to 2006. The 28-year-old coached at Chipola Junior College, Tennessee State, and Wichita State before returning to his alma mater.
"First and foremost, I want to thank head coach Gregg Marshall, his family, his staff, and Wichita State University as a whole for the opportunity they gave me," Ford said.
"They are all first-class people. With that being said, I’m very excited to be coming back to Redbird Country with head coach Dan Muller and looking forward to helping him take the program to the next level."
Muller is elated to have the fellow Redbird alum on board as part of his staff.
"I couldn’t be more excited that Dana Ford is joining my staff," he said. "He is one of the best up-and-coming, young assistants in the country and he’s a Redbird. Dana shares the same passion and love for this program that I do. When Dana was at Tennessee State and I was at Vanderbilt, I got an opportunity to get know him and had the chance to see him work closely. I was very impressed, and I believe that Dana is the full package. He is a tremendous recruiter with integrity, an outstanding coach on the court, and a great person."
Ward previously coached at Mississippi State and Jacksonville State before coming to ISU. In addition, the Alabama-Birmingham graduate has international experience as he played professionally in China after his collegiate career and returned to the country last season to coach.
"Torrey is an incredibly talented assistant coach with SEC experience," Muller said. "He’s been successful wherever he has been. Torrey can really recruit, but he is also an excellent basketball coach and understands the game. His experience in other parts of the country, in addition to the Midwest, really compliments our staff."
Ward, the only member of the coaching staff that is new to ISU, is grateful for the chance to join a program that advanced to the Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship game last season.
"I am excited about the opportunity to work with Dan Muller," he said.
"He is going to do great things at Illinois State, and I am looking forward to being a part of an already winning program. There is a lot of excitement in Normal. I’m proud to be a part of the Redbird family."