April 20, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Dane Fife, who has served as head coach at IPFW for the last six seasons, has been named assistant coach at Michigan State, Tom Izzo announced Wednesday. He replaces Mark Montgomery, who was named head coach at Northern Illinois in March.
In six years at IPFW, Fife posted an 82-97 record, including a 34-27 mark over the last two seasons. In each of his six seasons, IPFW tied or broke its record for wins at the Division I level, as Fife guided the Mastodons from Independent status to membership in the Summit League. This past season, IPFW posted an 18-12 mark, including an 11-7 record in the Summit League and secured the No. 4 seed in the Summit League Tournament, the program's highest seed ever in four years of conference membership.
"My relationship with Dane Fife dates back to when I started recruiting him as a high school prospect, and I'm happy to finally get him to Michigan State," said Izzo. "His toughness, competitive spirit and enthusiasm will be great additions to our staff. Having played at Indiana and growing up in Michigan, he knows the Big Ten well and has recruited the area. As a player, he understands the commitment and dedication needed to reach a Final Four.
"I've enjoyed watching him grow as a coach over the last six years. Having played him five times, I witnessed first hand the manner in which he directed his program. It's no surprise that he's been successful as a coach since he was born into a coaching family. With his father Dan as one of the top high school coaches in Michigan, Dane has understood coaching since he was born. It's a very athletic family as both his brothers played college basketball, Dugan at Michigan and Jeremy at Grand Valley State. Plus, Dane's two-sport background and football experience only adds to his toughness and versatility.
"In the end, Dane's honesty, hard work and commitment to Michigan State, make him and his beautiful family the perfect mix to join our staff."
"Coming to Michigan State is an opportunity to be a part of a first-class program," said Fife. "I'm excited to be a part of one of the top programs in the nation, and to work for Coach Izzo, who I believe is the best in the country. I want to thank IPFW and my players for the opportunity they've given me over the last six years. I'm giving up a lot, but gaining a ton in return. At this point in my life, the opportunity to be a part of an unbelievable staff and operation is simply one I could not turn down. I'm truly honored to be the latest addition to the Spartan basketball family."
A 2002 graduate of Indiana University, Fife led the Hoosiers to the 2002 National Title game and a share of the regular-season Big Ten Championship. Individually, he was named co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. He is the Indiana career leader with 180 steals over the course of his four-year career (1998-2002), while the 53 he recorded as a senior rank tied for the eighth-best single-season mark at IU. With 99 career 3-point field-goals made, he ranks among the top 20 in school history, while his .478 3-point field-goal percentage in 2001-02 ranks sixth on the school's single-season chart. The 37 games he started as a senior established the Indiana single-season mark, while the 131 games in which he played over the course of his career rank tied for sixth all-time at IU.
On March 24, 2005, Fife was named head coach at IPFW, becoming the youngest head coach in Division I basketball at just 25 years old. He held that distinction as the nation's youngest head coach for five seasons. In his first season, Fife took over a program that had never posted double-digit wins and won 10 games (10-18). The following season, IPFW improved to 12-17.
The 2007-08 season was IPFW's first as a member of the Summit League, and still the Mastodons improved to 13-18. IPFW finished its first league slate at 9-9 and secured the school's first-ever conference tournament bid, and win (66-62 vs. Southern Utah). In 2008-09, IPFW posted a 13-17 mark, including 8-10 in league play, finishing sixth. That season, Fife coached forward Deilvez Yearby, the 2009 Summit League Sixth Man of the Year. As a team, the Mastodons also had signature wins, topping two-time defending league champion Oral Roberts and handing Valparaiso its worst home defeat in 11 years (63-46).
Fife's 2009-10 squad became the first Mastodon team to produce a winning season, finishing with a 16-15 mark. IPFW was 9-9 in league play, finishing fifth, and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament. During IPFW's history in the Summit League, Fife has mentored three all-conference performers, including Jaraun Burrows (2008, 2nd Team), Deilvez Yearby (2010, 2nd Team) and Ben Botts (2011, 2nd Team).
Prior to becoming head coach at IPFW, Fife was a member of Mike Davis' staff for two years at Indiana, serving as an administrative assistant.
Fife was the Gary Steelheads' first round pick in the 2002 CBA Draft and started five of the 34 games in which he played. He averaged 3.4 points and one rebound per game.
A 1998 graduate of Clarkston (Mich.) High School, Fife was the recipient of the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award in 1998. He was also a McDonald's and Parade All-America selection, while playing for his father Dan.
He owns two degrees from Indiana, earning a bachelor's degree in recreation (2002) and a master's degree in athletic administration (2005). His family includes his wife Blair and daughter Quinnly.