FORT WAYNE – Duane Ticknor, a minor-league coaching veteran who led the Dakota Wizards to back-to-back playoff appearances from 2007 to 09, will be the next head coach of the Mad Ants.
A contract has not been signed between Ticknor, 57, and the Ants.
Were kind of finalizing things, said Ticknor by phone. I think weve progressed to the point where were getting real close to finalizing the deal. I guess thats a good way to put it. Weve got to go through the proper channels – not only through the Mad Ants organization, but also through NBA channels.
In his only two seasons with Dakota, Ticknor led the Wizards to the postseason. Dakota won the Central Division title with a 29-21 record during the 2007-08 season, and the following year, the Wizards defeated Central Division champion Iowa in the first round of the playoffs before falling in the league semifinals.
To be close to his home in Vermillion, S.D., Ticknor took an assistant coaching job with the Sioux Falls Skyforce for two seasons, beginning in 2009.
Last year he coached in Korea.
Ticknor was the coach of the CBA Gary Steelheads from 2002 to 05 and was an assistant with the Rapid City Thrillers from 1989 to 92. He was also the head coach for three IBA teams: Black Hills (1995-99), Dakota (1999-2000) and Siouxland Bombers (2000-01). During his IBA tenure, he was the leagues coach of the year four times and won the championship in 1997.
Ticknor will replace Steve Gansey as the Mad Ants coach.
Gansey was named interim coach last season after Joey Meyer was released in January after Meyer won five of his first 15 games of the 2011-12 season. Gansey was elevated from his assistant job and led the Ants the remainder of the season, going 9-26. The 14-36 record was the worst in the D-League and the franchises worst.
Obviously the talent level needs to get a lot better, Ticknor said of future Ants teams. Thats the bottom line in pro basketball. Talent usually wins. Then youve got to develop chemistry within the team and within the coaching staff. Its not just all about the players having chemistry. Youve got to build relationships with players, and youve got to have mutual respect in both directions. Thats been one of my strong suits, is to be able to build those relationships with mutual respect.
Gansey has been asked to return to the team as an assistant but isnt sure whether he will accept.
My status is I got to be asked as the assistant, but nothings been signed yet or anything. Im thinking about it. Gansey said.