News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Indiana State University

December 31, 2009

Professional ties/family ties: Jordan Altman a graduate assistant for Indiana State

TERRE HAUTE — Whenever Indiana State and Creighton’s men’s basketball teams play, the similarities are striking.

ISU coach Kevin McKenna was on Creighton coach Dana Altman’s staff from 1994-2000 and again from 2005-07. Both share the same offensive and defensive philosophies and both coaches have a similar sideline demeanor, right down to simultaneous shouts of “simple plays!” — among other things — during the game.

Now, professional ties have intertwined with family ties.

Jordan Altman, Dana’s oldest son, is the Sycamores’ graduate assistant, taking over this season in that position. The job was a natural fit for both men, given their familiarity and long association with one another. Jordan Altman has an even longer relationship with ISU assistant coach Deryl Cunningham, who played for Altman when Dana coached at Kansas State in the early 90s.

Jordan Altman’s first memory of McKenna is one of his most vivid of all. It was at the dawn of what became a golden era for Creighton’s basketball program.

“The first time I remember meeting coach McKenna was when we were shooting family media guide posters at Creighton. That was my first real experience at Creighton, so I remember it vividly. I met his whole [McKenna] family that day. That was in October 1994 and I’ve had a solid relationship with his family ever since,” Jordan Altman said.

At the time, Jordan Altman was in fourth grade. The long association between McKenna and Dana Altman made it an easy decision to bring the junior Altman to Terre Haute when ISU’s graduate assistant job opened up this season.

“His dad told me that Jordan had an interest in coaching and we had a spot open up this year and I thought it would be a good fit for him and for us. He’s working on his Masters, he’s helping us out. He’s doing the behind-the-scenes things he kind of knew about, but is doing for the first time himself,” McKenna said.

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