As an IPFW alumnus and IPFW Athletics Booster (and 2009-2010 Fan of the Year!), I am always following IPFW events closely and the big news this week has surrounded Dane Fife. Dane Fife completed six seasons as the Mastodons Men's Basketball Coach and again this year, as the last couple years, speculation has surrounded his name whenever almost any coaching opening would arise in the Midwest.
From the day he was hired I knew that we were only renting him for a while but I honestly didn't believe that Dane would be at IPFW for six seasons so I thought the odds of him returning to coach a seventh season next year were quite small. And losing two key components in senior guards Ben Botts and Zach Plackemeier (I refer to them as the cornerstones of the IFPW program) would seem to give him more incentive to move on this year.
So when Mark Montgomery left Coach Tom Izzo's staff at Michigan State to become Head Coach at Northern Illinois University, I told my buddies at work that this was the opening to watch. I had no insight other than just the well-known understanding of a very special relationship that Dane has with Tom Izzo and my belief that this would be a better career move for him than to take a head coaching position at another mid-major school only slightly higher up the NCAA ladder than IPFW where he really wouldn't learn a lot more than he has learned at IPFW.
Ben Smith of the Journal-Gazette captures my mood perfectly in A Natural Progression. This is what IPFW is and what IPFW is about. Reggie Hayes of the News-Sentinel chimes in with Fife's move smart for him including an observation that conjectures about Dane's future include the need by the current IU coach to start making some NCAA tournaments.
Among all the web stories and blogs available about Dane Fife being hired to join Tom Izzo's staff I found this one to be one of the more interesting ones not so much for the author's points and research but because one of the comments speculates that one factor that contributed to the hire is the fact that Dane Fife is in his 30's (barely) and he uses Twitter!
Meet Dane Fife, Michigan State Basketball's New Assistant Coach