Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Anderson’s Experience Invaluable for Dolphins

By Alex Keil

Working in the world of college basketball can take you a lot of places. For Don Anderson, his career as a player and coach have sent him across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast for a number of years before coming to Jacksonville University where he works on the staff of his former pupil, Cliff Warren.

After graduating from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., in 1982, Anderson only had to make a short trip down the road for his first coaching gig. Gettysburg College was looking for an assistant and the recent college grad was eager to get started in the profession. After three seasons, Anderson moved up the bench and took over as the head coach of the Bullets, spending four years in charge of the Division III program.

Following the 1988-89 campaign, a chance came to move up to the Division I level as an assistant at Mount St. Mary’s. Though it meant a change of address and a new start, the two schools were similar in size and were only 20 minutes apart from each other across the Pennsylvania-Maryland border.

Anderson would go on to spend the next 12 seasons as an assistant to Jim Phelan, the legendary man in charge of the Mountaineers program who spent 49 years at the school. It was in Anderson’s first season at The Mount where he would meet Warren, a senior on the team. Warren graduated and moved into the private sector, but eventually made his way to coaching and began his career at Mount St. Mary’s while pursuing his Master’s degree.

“He (Warren) had a lot to give in the profession,” said Anderson. “Having him come back turned into a really good situation.”

Leaving Mount St. Mary’s following the 2001-02 season, Anderson would go on to be an assistant coach at Coppin State, Maryland-Baltimore County and Binghamton over the next decade. It was at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season when the offer came from Warren to make the move to Jacksonville as the Director of Basketball Operations.

At JU, Anderson is “the UPS guy,” handling the logistics of travel, meals, hotels and whatever else is required to have the players and everyone associated with the program on the same page throughout the season. He also handles the community service initiatives that the Dolphins participate in throughout the year. In the past two years, Jacksonville coaches and players have gone out and volunteered at senior homes, elementary schools, in community gardens and at soup kitchens, among others.

“We want to make sure that we’re out in the community and that the community knows who we are outside of basketball.”

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