Latest on Darner's departure; top recruit reacts
There are still more questions than answers over the Green Bay Phoenix and Linc Darner divorce. The school and the former men’s basketball coach issued a joint statement Monday, calling it a mutual parting of the ways, rather than a firing.
The Green Bay Press Gazette is reporting that there was a reassignment clause in Darner's contract. If that was used, and Darner refused the reassignment, that would be a way to avoid paying the full amount on the remaining 6 years of his contract, which was worth $230-thousand a year. UWGB used the same clause to move on from Mike Heideman in 2002.
In 5 seasons as head coach of the men’s basketball team, Darner had a 92-80 record, finishing in the top 4 of the Horizon League 4 times. He ended the program’s 20-year NCAA Tournament drought in his first season as head coach.
In the statement, Darner thanked the former administration for hiring him, along with players and coaches. "I would like to thank my staff, recruits and all current and former players who helped us make the NCAA Tournament, taking GB the furthest ever in the postseason to the CIT Finals and having the most up-tempo offense in the country."
UWGB says they will be conducting a national search, but will it end with a local hire? St. Norbert head coach and former Phoenix captain Gary Grzesk has been a finalist for this job twice before, in 2010 and 2015. Grzsek did not return a message on Monday, a source close to him said they believe he is interested in the job if Green Bay is serious about him taking the over the position. Grzsek was also a Phoenix assistant coach in the 2002-2003. In 14 seasons, Grzesk has led the Green Knights to 9 conference titles and 7 NCAA Division 3 tournaments.
Green Bay has a large recruiting class coming in; 7 scholarship players and walk-on Ryan Claflin of Southern Door High School. The prize in-state recruit is 6-8 power forward Terrance Thompson from defending state champ La Crosse Central High School.
WBAY-TV spoke with Thompson Monday night. He said he was stunned by the news of Darner's departure, and now his future plans are on hold. “I talked to the athletic director like 30 minutes ago, and he told me a few things that he didn't want me to tell the media yet. He said the head coaching job is going to be filled within the next few weeks, so I'm just going to wait to see who they hire and I am going to make my decision off that,” Thompson said.
WBAY-TV spoke with Jacob Jones on Tuesday. He said he was shocked because it came out of nowhere. However, Jones said he remains committed. "I'm committed to Green Bay for sure. 100 percent."