Hipsher Hired As Hogs Assistant

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach Stan Heath's search for an assistant ended Friday with the hiring of former Akron coach Dan Hipsher.

Hipsher fills the position vacated by Bill Herrion, who left five weeks after his hiring to become head coach at New Hampshire. Herrion was hired to replace Rob Flaska on April 18 after the three-year Arkansas assistant accepted the head coaching job at Centenary at the end of the season.

"I feel very fortunate that a guy like Dan Hipsher was still available," Heath said. "I know he's very committed to being a part of our program. Dan fits that mold that I was looking for as a replacement for Rob and I don't have any doubt that he's going to come in and compliment our staff well.

"He'll have a very positive and effective impact with our players."

Hipsher was 112-137 in nine seasons at Akron before being reassigned after the 2004 season to an administrative position outside the athletic department. He has been working in the Akron office of public affairs and development.

Hipsher's first trip to Fayetteville was this past week when he interviewed with Heath on Sunday and Monday.

"Stan did a great job in the MAC and I like what he's building at Arkansas," said Hipsher, who'll return to campus Monday to begin working. "He's laid the groundwork. This is an exciting opportunity for me. I have a lot of respect for Stan and the kind of coach and person he is. (UA athletic director Frank) Broyles, the university and the basketball program -- I know what they mean for the state. Plus, you're competing in the (Southeastern Conference). It doesn't get any better than that.

"All those things appealed to me. It's a great situation."

Heath coached against Hipsher during his one season at Kent State in 2001-02.

"We had some good games and some scary games," Heath said. "We had a lot of seniors on that team and went to the Elite Eight and I don't want to insult Dan, but I think we had a lot more talent on our team at the time than he did.

"But he gave us some scary games. He almost blew senior night for us."

Heath said Hipsher's impact will be felt on both sides of the court. His strengths include zone offense and defense and he also has strong recruiting connections the coaches will explore.

"He's a great basketball mind," Heath said. "I know he's going to have good ideas, new ideas that we can kind of bounce around and see what fits our program.

"Dan's got a strong, strong background with the motion offense. I think in anything you do, especially from an offensive standpoint, if you can screen and move and get good spacing, you can be a good offensive team and I know we'll utilize some of those motion concepts in what we do."

In 1998, Hipsher was named Mid-America Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Zips to a 17-10 record. It was just three years removed from the 3-23 record the team posted a season before his hiring.

Prior to that, he spent nine seasons (1981-89) as an assistant at Dayton, four seasons as head coach at Wittenburg (1989-93) and two seasons as head coach at Stetson (1994-95). At Wittenburg, his 1992 squad led the nation in scoring defense (56.9 points per game).

"Dan Hipsher received a great coaching background while working with Don Donoher at Dayton," said Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight in a release from the University of Arkansas. "I have watched many of his practices and several of his games over the years and he does an excellent job in teaching his players how to understand to play the game. He is an extremely good teacher as a practice coach and a very good tactician as a coach.

"Dan will be a tremendous addition to basketball at Arkansas."

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