The decision was to emphasize it and make it the center of the University’s athletic offerings. Daily and the board then set out on a nationwide search for a new coach—a savior—to lift the program from the ashes of basketball mediocrity. Among more than 50 applicants they found Bob Staak, a little-known assistant coach from the University of Pennsylvania who “set the table,” Daily says, by taking the program to the NCAA Tournament in his fourth year with a 22-8 season. Pete Gillen followed him, with Skip Prosser after that and now Thad Matta.
“We’ve only had one losing season since then,” Daily says. “Our committee enabled us to have what we have today.”