O’Banion is out after 4 years, 21-98 record

Kent State will have a new women’s basketball coach next season.

Women’s basketball coach Danny O’Banion will not have her contract renewed, the school announced Friday.

O’Banion just finished her fourth season at KSU. Her teams went 21-98 and never won more than seven games. She had been in the last year of a four-year contract.

“We appreciate everything Danny has done for the program over the past four years,” Athletic Director Joel Nielsen said in a press release. “Her student-athletes have done a great job in the classroom, off the court and in the community. She is a person of great character and has led our program with tremendous class and integrity.”
“I have given this decision considerable thought and I felt it was necessary to move in a different direction. I believe we should compete for conference championships here, and we’re going to find a coach who can do that.”
Nielsen said a national search for a new coach would begin immediately.

O’Banion was hired in April 2012 to succeed longtime coach Bob Lindsay, whose contract also wasn’t renewed by Nielsen.

She went 3-27 in her first season with inherited players, two junior college transfers and a late freshman recruit.

Her team had its best record in 2013-14 when they finished 7-23 and 4-14 in the MAC, which tied Ohio and Miami for fourth (and last) in the MAC East.

While the teams improved in the last two years, their records did not. Kent State was 5-25 in 2014-15 and 6-23 this season.

Just before last season, it was announced that O’Banion had Stage II lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph glands. She coached the entire season while undergoing chemotherapy and said last spring that her cancer was in remission.

It was announced in February that she would receive the  U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award for women’s basketball for “extraordinary courage in the face of adversity.” (Summit was the legendary Tennessee women’s coach who developed Alzheimer’s disease at the peak of her career.)

O’Banion leaves a team that returns in its entirety next season, barring transfers. It includes all-MAC honorable mention selection Jordan Korinek, the team’s leading scorer, and three-year starter Larissa Lurken.

The team has one incoming freshman recruit, shooting guard Ali Poole, a 5-11 second-team all-state player from Carrollton High School. Zenobia Bess, a 6-1 transfer from Illinois State, becomes eligible next season, and freshman Megan Carter, a top recruit this year whose season ended in November with a knee injury, returns.





One comment

  1. goldenflash101

    Well at least we will find out how much talent we do have. I don’t expect a complete turnaround ala Ohio but I think we will make double digits in wins. That last game against Miami was an embarrassment. We should have won that one by 10+. NIU was another game that should have been won more handily. Watching Akron getting their three point shooters open against that tough Buffalo defense convinced me that Plybon on Kent would look like Lurken and vice versa. That shows how one bad coaching selection can ruin a program.


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