Former Wright State Raiders coach Billy Donlon, 42, has a head coaching job for the first time since he was fired by Wright State in 2016.
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The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced the hiring of Donlon on Friday. He spent the last two two seasons as an assistant coach at Northwestern after working one season with the Michigan Wolverines.
Two years ago, while coaching with Michigan in the NCAA tournament, Donlon expressed hope he would get another chance to be a head coach.
“I really do try to live in the moment,” Donlon said. “Would I love another opportunity? Of course I would.”
Donlon, a North Carolina Wilmington graduate, compiled a 109-94 record in six seasons at Wright State. The Raiders played in the Horizon League championship game three times during his tenure and lost each time. He won the Horizon League Coach of the Year Award in 2013 as the Raiders improved by 10 wins from the previous season.
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Donlon takes over a program that finished 11-21 last season and has had one winning season in the last eight years. UMKC fired Kareem Richardson in March after six seasons. The Kangaroos have not played in the NCAA tournament since moving to Division I in 1987.
“It reminds me of my experiences at Wilmington and Wright State,” Donlon said in a press release. “Neither of those programs had a winning tradition. That excites me: the opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done. We’re not only going to knock on the door, we’re going to kick it in. There has to be a first time. Northwestern did it two years ago (earned its first NCAA tournament bid). We were part of the first Big Ten championship at Michigan. When people come and watch our players compete and play, they’ll believe we can make the NCAA tournament.”
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