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Ants ‘open minded’ on coach

Team hopes hire made by mid-September

– When it comes to picking his next head coach, Mad Ants president Jeff Potter is “being open minded.”

It doesn’t have to be someone who has been a head coach before, though that would help. It doesn’t have to be someone who played in the NBA, though that wouldn’t hurt.

Potter called “the minor leagues a different animal,” so it seems that a candidate who knows what it’s like in the NBA D-League – what works there – would really be appealing.

“Those guys who have chewed on the dirt down here, it’s an easier transition for them,” Potter said Friday afternoon.

Last season, the Mad Ants were coached by Duane Ticknor, who took them to a 27-23 record and their first ever playoff berth in his lone season with the team.

He’s since been hired by the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies to be an assistant under new head coach Dave Joerger, a former assistant under Ticknor with the Dakota Wizards.

The Mad Ants have full autonomy to pick their coach, even though they are a minor-league affiliate of Detroit, Indiana, Charlotte, Memphis, Milwaukee and Orlando – teams that have suggested some names to Potter.

“I’ve gone into different (hires) thinking I have to have a guy who has this or that (on his résumé),” Potter said, “but I’m trying to go into this one open-minded. … I want to dive in and see who would be a good fit.”

Potter would like to have his coach in place by the time the Mad Ants hold open tryouts in the middle of September.

“We’ve got some time but I don’t want to push it toward the end of (that) month. I don’t want to lose some quality candidates and we think we have some,” Potter said.

“I’m still kind of in the early stages. I’ve been trying to cast a wide net to see who’s out there and who’s interested. I wanted to get away from the NBA summer league a little bit and see what else will fall through the cracks with NBA teams. I’m still a ways away.”

jcohn@jg.net

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