April 27, 2010 in Sports

Altman new Oregon basketball coach

Associated Press
 

Altman
(Full-size photo)

Longtime Creighton coach Dana Altman has signed a seven-year deal worth $1.8 million annually to become Oregon’s head men’s basketball coach.

Altman, 51, spent 16 seasons at Creighton, compiling a 327-176 record. He led the Bluejays to 11 straight 20-win seasons before they went 18-16 this past season.

Creighton went to the postseason 13 times in his tenure, including seven NCAA tournament appearances.

Altman replaces Ernie Kent, who was dismissed after 13 seasons at his alma mater. The Ducks went 16-16 last season.

“I think this place can be special. Is there a lot of work to be done? Absolutely. Is there a culture to be changed? Possibly,” Altman said. “As I spend more time with the players we’ll make adjustments and we’ll move on and we’ll get some new players. But we can build something special here. Everything is in place.”

Altman’s appointment was announced Monday at the new Matthew Knight Arena, which is under construction and will replace MacArthur Court.

The hiring ends more than a monthlong search during which several high profile names where rumored to be on Oregon’s wish list.

Altman, who also had coaching stints at Marshall and Kansas State, is considered a strong bench coach who produces up-tempo, defense-oriented teams.

In April 2007, Altman left Creighton to take the Arkansas job but returned to Omaha within 24 hours after having a change of heart.

“This is home. This is where I will finish my coaching career. That’s pretty obvious now,” Altman said after Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen hired him back.

On Monday he said: “If it wasn’t hard to leave, I wasn’t doing my job for the past 16 years.”

Former Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny, who conducted the search, said he heard nothing but praise for Altman.

“If I spoke to 20 coaches about his basketball abilities, his leadership, his coaching abilities, I got 20 A-pluses,” he said.

Altman joins a Ducks program that is without an athletic director. Former football coach Mike Bellotti left the A.D.’s office last month to become a college football analyst with ESPN. His departure became controversial after it was made public that he never signed a contract and was leaving with a $2.3 million “golden parachute.”

Altman said he did have concerns about vacancy, but “I trust the administration to put someone in place that will run our athletic program on a national scale,” he said.

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