It’s official: Indiana’s Starkey is new KSU coach

Kent State made it official this afternoon, announcing that Indiana assistant coach Todd Starkey will become head women’s basketball coach for the Flashes.

Starkey, a former Division II national coach of the year, will be introduced at a noon press conference Wednesday.

The KSU press release didn’t break a lot of new ground from earlier reports, but here are some new things:

  • Athletic Director Joel Nielsen: “His head coaching experience and recruiting ability make him the ideal fit for our institution.  Todd’s commitment to academic excellence is well noted throughout his career, and he understands the programs role within the university and community.”
  • Starkey himself: “I am very excited to join the Kent State community and to have the chance to build on a program that has such a great history.”
  • Indiana head coach Teri Moren: “Kent State has landed a terrific coach and person.  Todd had a tremendous impact on our program during his time here at Indiana.  His goal was to become a head coach at the Division I level and we are very happy for him.”
  • Northwestern coach Joe McKeown, probably KSU’s most prominent alum in women’s coaching today: “I’m very excited for Todd and Kent State women’s basketball.  I think his experience and success at Lenoir-Rhyne as a head coach and recently an assistant at Indiana has prepared him for the challenges ahead.  Todd is not only an outstanding basketball coach but he is a person of high character and integrity. He will get the Golden Flashes back in the MAC very quickly.”

(Press release quotes are often written by public relations people and rarely sound like real people talking. I’ve also seen no indication that McKeown and Starkey ever worked closely together.)

Other notes from the release:

  • At Indiana, Starkey assisted with the program’s recruiting, practice and game preparation, scouting reports, scheduling, player development and technology applications. (In other words, what most assistants do. Best I can tell, he was second or third among the three assistants in hierarchy.)
  • The team Starkey helped coach last season went 14-0 at home and 21-12 overall, tying the Indiana school record for most wins in a season. It made the NCAA tournament both years he was there and won its from tournament game since 1983.
  • In his only full year (2014-15) at Indiana, the team had a 3.20 overall GPA.This season five team members were all-academic. When Starkey was head coach at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina, his teams had a 3.0 or higher GPA every year. He had a 100 percent graduation rate among players who remained past their sophomore year.
  • At Lenoir-Ryhne, he recruited SAC player of the year Jazmine Charles, currently a senior on the team. He also coached the fourth and fifth leading scorers in school history, both multiple all-conference selections.
  • He was South Atlantic Conference coach of the year three years in a row from 2008-09 to 2010-11, the only men’s or women’s coach in the conference ever to do that.
  • He played basketball and tennis at Division II Mars Hill College but got his bachelor’s degree from NAIA school Montreat College, where he got his first coaching job on the school’s men’s team. Both Mars Hill and Montreat are in North Carolina.
  • He’s been a member of the State Farm/WBCA All-American Selection Committee member, the NCAA Division II Regional Advisory Committee, a WBCA/USA Today National Poll member, chair of the SAC Coaches Committee, and a member of the Lenoir-Rhyne University Diversity Task Force committee member. He’s done clinics at the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association national convention.
  • In 2008-09 — the year Lenoir-Rhyne went 27-5 and Starkey was Division II national coach of the year, the school averaged 844 fans per home game, larger than 211 Division I women’s programs.
  • Average attendance in 2013-14, Starkey’s last season when the team went 24-7 and won the conference, was 432. Lenoir-Rhyne has about 2,000 students.
  • Average attendance last season at Kent State, which has 28,000 students, was 490. Highest average attendance ever at KSU was about 1,100 in the middle of the Bob Lindsay era.

KSU coaching history

Starkey will be the sixth women’s coach in KSU history. Other were:

  • Judy Devine (14-14 from 1975-76 to 1976-77).
  • Laurel Wartluft (135-119 from 1977-78 to 1985-86)
  • Richard Keast (33-50 from 1986-87 to 1988-89).
  • Bob Lindsay (412-235 from 1989-90 to 2011-12.)
  • Danielle “Danny”  O’Banion (21-98 from 2111-12 to the end of last season).






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