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Nanooks announce hiring of interim women's basketball coach

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: 907-474-7902

06/22/09

Photo caption below.
Photo courtesy of Alaska Nanooks
Dave Thompson
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University of Alaska Fairbanks athletic director Forrest Karr announced Tuesday that Alaska Nanooks women's basketball coach Darryl Smith was stepping down and would be replaced by Dave Thompson, most recently head basketball coach at Hutchison High School.

"Over the past few years I've been consistently impressed watching Dave work to develop young men and women into valuable members of society," Karr said. "Dave spent last week coaching a women's team at the Patty Center and it was impossible not to notice his positive interactions with coaches from around the state, as well as members of our staff."

Karr praised Smith for helping keep the team going during what proved to be a difficult season. All but three of the team's original 12-player lineup suffered season-ending injuries and Smith brought in other UAF students to fill the ranks. In all, 21 athletes played for the team during the 2008-2009 season. The team's tenacity, under Smith's leadership, resulted in the Nanooks winning the sixth annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference NCAA Sportsmanship Award. Smith said he plans to move closer to family in Montana.

"I would like to thank all of the people here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for the support our women's basketball team received," Smith said. " Myself, Coach Hood, and Forrest have worked hard to keep all things in place in an effort to ensure the program will move forward. I am extremely proud of the fine young ladies who put forth a valiant effort in the face of such severe adversity. I am confident that they will enjoy future success."

Thompson comes to the Nanooks after a five-year stint as head coach at Hutchison High School. He took the team from a 0-22 record in their inaugural season to a 24-5 record and the 2009 Alaska 3A State Boys Basketball Championship, Fairbanks' first state basketball title since 1997. Thompson has been coaching basketball since 1990, including time at a California high school, a university in Norway and North Pole High School. He holds a bachelor's degree in natural resource management from UAF.

"This is such a wonderful opportunity for me professionally. I am just really excited to come back to UAF," Thompson said. "I feel like Coach Smith and Coach (Christian) Hood have laid a great foundation, based on commitment and hard work. I am very excited about the foundation I have to build on."

Karr said Thompson's willingness to take on the job, along with Assistant Coach Hood's continued presence, will provide continuity in the program, both for current and future players.

"Dave is a graduate of the university and has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to academics," Karr said. "His family is here and he has a business here. Dave is active in local basketball and has built many strong positive relationships. Dave has the passion and broad support necessary to provide a solid foundation for the program. We could not have a better person representing the university."

CONTACT: Forrest Karr, UAF athletics director, at 907-474-6812 or via e-mail at forrest.karr@alaska.edu. Dave Thompson, Alaska Nanooks interim head women's basketball coach, at 907-590-1437. Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at 907-474-7902 or via e-mail at marmian.grimes@alaska.edu.

MG/6-23-09/195-09

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