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The Journal Gazette

  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette Steve Gansey, sketching out a play during a timeout at Memorial Coliseum this season, will be back as the Mad Ants’ head coach. 

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 1:10 am

Ants to bring back Gansey next year

Parent club Indiana sees progress in his 2nd season as coach

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Coach Steve Gansey, who guided the Mad Ants back to the playoffs in his second full season as coach, will return to the team next season. The NBA’s Indiana Pacers, who own and operate the Mad Ants, exercised their contract option on Gansey on Tuesday.

“Steve has shown a great professional and personal development over the last two seasons with the Mad Ants,” general manager Brian Levy said.

“The hard work he and his staff have put in makes us feel the team is headed in a positive direction under his leadership.”

The Mad Ants had a 30-20 regular-season record this season and lost to the Maine Red Claws in the third game of a best-of-3 first-round series. The Mad Ants finished second in the division behind Raptors 905, which won the regular-season and playoff championships.

Gansey had a team heavy on rookies – including Alex Poythress, Jordan Loyd, Georges Niang, Ben Bentil, Jarrod Uthoff, Nick Zeisloft, Adam Woodbury, E. Victor Nickerson and Chris Fowler – and oversaw their development. He also navigated the unexpected mid-season departure of Julyan Stone, perhaps the team’s best player, while integrating former NBA players Tyler Hansbrough and Marquis Teague into the lineup late in the season.

Poythress was named Second Team All-League and was signed by the Philadelphia 76ers, Uthoff was signed by the Dallas Mavericks and Bentil had a stint with the Mavericks. Niang, Rakeem Christmas and Joe Young were the Pacers players who spent time with Fort Wayne this season.

“I am really excited to be back with the Mad Ants, and I appreciate all of the fans’ support over the last couple years,” said Gansey, who has already been asked to spend more time assisting the Pacers’ coaching staff in Indianapolis during the offseason. “I would like to thank Brian Levy and the rest of the Pacers/Mad Ants organization for allowing myself to lead the team next season.”

Gansey began with the Mad Ants as an intern in 2009, was interim head coach in 2011-12 and was Conner Henry’s assistant en route to the 2014 D-League championship. After a season as an assistant with the Canton Charge – when Fort Wayne again reached the D-League finals – Gansey returned to the Mad Ants in 2015 as their head coach.

They missed the 2016 postseason, however, in the team’s first season of being solely affiliated with the Pacers.

Including his 9-26 record as the interim coach – he had replaced the fired Joey Meyer – Gansey has a head-coaching record of 59-76.

Prior to coaching in the D-League, Gansey was on staff with the USA Under-19 National Team, working with players such as Stephen Curry, DeAndre Jordan and Tyreke Evans.

jcohn@jg.net