TERRE HAUTE —
Greg Lansing has been on Indiana State’s men’s basketball staff for nine years over two stints and has waited three years for the opportunity to be the head coach of the program after he was a finalist for the same position in 2007.
When the moment finally arrived on Tuesday, Greg gave his wife Angie a kiss, and had a short stroll to the podium.
Once there, a sense of relief was accompanied by a sense of comfort.
Lansing might have been experiencing his first moment as the 25th head coach in ISU history, but the number of well-wishers at Hulman Center, numbering well into three figures, was proof that familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt. In this case, it bred respect.
Lansing, after all, has been a familiar face in Terre Haute since 1996 when he first came to ISU as an assistant coach on Sherman Dillard’s staff. The Lansing family is a fixture in ISU’s athletic structure. Angie Lansing is the Senior Women’s Administrator in the ISU Athletics Department.
Lansing, 42, is the first assistant coach hired off ISU’s staff since Bill Hodges was hired off Bob King’s staff in 1978.
After thanking the many well-wishers and family on hand, Lansing singled out previous ISU coaches Royce Waltman and Kevin McKenna and former Iowa coach Steve Alford for mentoring him. Lansing was an assistant coach from 1996-99 at ISU and again from 2006-2010. He worked at Iowa from 1999-2006.
“Chemistry, character and competing. That’s what our teams are going to be about. That’s the only way I know how,” Lansing said.
Lansing was named head coach 24 hours after McKenna announced his resignation from the position. McKenna resigned to take an assistant coaching position at the University of Oregon.
The hiring process was lightning-quick because of the timing of McKenna’s resignation. July is the most important month of recruiting in men’s college basketball. Without a head coach, ISU’s program could have been seriously affected for several years as a result.
Once Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman got approval from ISU President Daniel Bradley to fast-track the process, it was a very quick decision. Lansing was a finalist in 2007 after Waltman was dismissed and was thought to be a close second choice to McKenna at that time.
“It was a fast-track process, which is unusual, but it needed to be fast-tracked because of the complexities of the sport. Recruiting starts on July 1, the most important period there is in men’s basketball. I was pleased we could work this out in a hurry,” Prettyman said.
At present, Lansing has a handshake agreement on a contract. Terms and compensation have not been ironed out. Prettyman indicated that Lansing’s contract status would be determined in July.
Lansing’s support ranged from longtime community fixtures to former players. Former ISU great Nate Green was among those on hand.
Green was probably the only person present who knows Lansing as a head coach. Lansing coached Green at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. Lansing has never been a head coach at the collegiate level.
“Given my relationship with Coach Lansing, this ranks right up there as one of our happiest days together. I’ve seen firsthand the effort he puts into his craft,” Green said. “He’s been as patient as anyone as far as this business goes. You have to be in the right place at the right time and it so happens that now is that time and he’s the right man for the job.”
Green was one of the first Sycamores who developed the kind of personal relationship with Lansing that has characterized his time as an ISU assistant coach. Lansing recruited many of the current Sycamores and has built loyalty among them.
“I’m happy. Greg was the one who recruited me most and he’s the coach I go to most when I have issues. I’m looking forward to bright days as a Sycamore,” ISU center Isiah Martin said.
Lansing announced that current assistant coaches Lou Gudino and Deryl Cunningham would be retained. Gudino, a Clinton native, has been promoted to associate head coach.