Dana Altman enters his 16th year at Creighton with a 309-160 record, which equates to an average of nearly 21 wins per season over the past 15 years.
The man who was recently named a coach on the MVC Men’s Basketball Centennial Team has led Creighton to 11 straight seasons of 20 or more wins, not to mention 12 consecutive postseason appearances. Both marks are league records.
Creighton has also won 10 or more league games in 13 straight seasons, another MVC mark.
The dean of the Missouri Valley Conference, he ranks third on the coaching victories list in the 103-year history of The Valley, trailing only Basketball Hall of Fame coaches Henry Iba (486) and Eddie Hickey (337).
Altman owns a 392-227 career record in 20 years at the Division I level and is 515-251 in 24 years overall as a head coach.
Altman has guided Creighton to an increase in victories in 10 of the past 14 years while firmly establishing the Bluejay program on the national scale.
Since coming to Creighton, his athletes have earned six All-America honors on the court and four Academic All-America laurels in the classroom. Three players he coached at Creighton, Kyle Korver, Rodney Buford and Anthony Tolliver, have played in the NBA.
Last year Altman led Creighton to a share of the MVC regular-season title, and its 27 wins were second-most in school history. The Bluejays ranked 12th nationally with 15,930 fans per home game, drawing a Valley-record 302,676 fans. Booker Woodfox was named Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year and the Jays posted separate nine and 11 game win streaks during the season. Creighton had 25 games air on television, including nine on CBS, seven on Fox Sports Net and five on ESPN-affiliated networks.
In 2007-08 Altman guided a young team to a 22-11 record and the second round of the NIT. Woodfox was named Valley Sixth Man of the Year while P'Allen Stinnett swept MVC Newcomer and Freshman of the Year plaudits. The Jays beat DePaul, Nebraska, Saint Joseph’s, UALR and Drexel out of conference.
Altman’s 2006-07 team was nationally ranked in the preseason and won its sixth MVC Tournament title in nine years with a 67-61 win over #11 Southern Illinois. The school finished 13th nationally by averaging a 15,909 fans per game while also playing on TV in 28 of 33 contests.
Despite season-ending injuries to starting guards Nate Funk and Josh Dotzler, Altman’s 2005-06 squad finished 20-10 and reached the final 16 of the National Invitation Tournament. Creighton owned wins over three teams that reached the Sweet 16, including a 20-point victory at Final Four qualifier George Mason. That team finished tied for second in the MVC, which gained national attention after ranking as the country’s sixth-best league.
In 2004-05 Altman helped guide a young team back to the Big Dance, thanks to an MVC Tourney title victory against Missouri State. The Jays won eight straight games down the stretch before losing a 63-61 nailbiter to eventual Elite Eight qualifier West Virginia in the first round of the NCAA’s.
In 2003-04, Creighton started 12-0 (the school’s best start since 1942-43) and returned to the top 25 for the second straight year. The accomplishments earned Altman the collegeinsider.com Jim Phelan Mid-Season Coach of the Year award, the latest in a long line of honors. He now owns regional, district, conference or national coach of the year honors in 10 of his 24 years as a head coach.
The 2003-04 season also saw Creighton move into the $291 million Qwest Center Omaha in downtown Omaha. The Jays averaged 12,016 fans per game in ‘03-04 and have ranked in the top 30 nationally in attendance each of the last six years.
A two-time MVC Coach of the Year (2001 and 2002), Altman was a finalist for the prestigious Naismith National Coach of the Year and named the NABC District 12 and USBWA District VI Coach of the Year in 2002-03.
Altman led that 2002-03 squad to a school-record 29 wins during a year that most consider among the best in Bluejay history. During that same season he also passed Arthur A. Schabinger to become the school’s all-time winningest coach.
In December 2002, Altman directed the Bluejays into the top 25 for the first time since 1975, climbing as high as ninth in the coaches poll and 10th in the Associated Press poll. The Jays remained in the poll for the final 15 weeks of the season, finishing the season 15th in the AP poll and 23rd in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
Altman has led Creighton to 12 straight postseason berths, including seven NCAA Tournaments. Along the way, the Jays have established new school records for victories in a two-year (52), three-year (76) and four-year span (99). Creighton is one of just six schools to win 20 or more games each of the last 11 years, an elite list that also includes Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas and Syracuse.
Creighton’s time in the spotlight in recent years is nothing new, but rather the culmination of continued growth in the program.
Altman’s 2001-02 team won a share of its second straight MVC title for the first time in 60 years, won the MVC Tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a double-overtime victory over No. 15 Florida. In the process, he coached an honorable-mention All-American and the league’s Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, and members of the Valley’s Most-Improved and All-Bench teams.
His 2000-01 squad tied Creighton’s then-school record for wins in a season (24-8) and won its first Valley regular season title since 1990-91, while the 1999-00 team won its first nine games on its way to an overall record of 23-10.
In 1998-99, Altman earned National Association of Basketball Coaches District 12 Coach of the Year honors after CU went 22-9 and made the second round of the NCAA Tournament. That year, Altman joined Creighton’s Eddie Hickey and Wichita State’s Gene Smithson as the only coaches in MVC history to have led their teams to improved winning percentages in five straight seasons.
Altman became the 15th head coach in Creighton history following the 1993-94 season after four successful years as the head coach at Kansas State and a season at Marshall.
Hired March 31, 1994, Altman inherited a team that posted a 7-22 ledger the year before his arrival and led the Bluejays to a slightly improved 7-19 record in 1994-95 before his 1995-96 squad jumped to 14-15. In 1996-97, Altman’s team was 15-15 and followed with another substantial jump to 18-10 and a bid to the NIT in 1997-98.
But making his teams better is nothing new for the 51-year-old Altman. In his 20 seasons as an NCAA Division I head coach, Altman has led his teams to either an improved overall winning percentage or victory total 16 times.
Altman arrived at Creighton after compiling a 68-54 record in four seasons (1990-94) at Kansas State University. During that time, Altman led the Wildcats to three straight postseason tourneys and was named the Big Eight Conference Coach of the Year after leading KSU to a 19-11 record and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1993.
Altman’s final Kansas State club turned heads nationally with a 68-64 win at No. 1 Kansas on Jan. 17, 1994. The Wildcats lost their next 30 games to their in-state rival after Altman’s conquest of the rival Jayhawks. That K-State team eventually advanced to New York City while playing in the Final Four of the NIT.
Altman’s success at KSU followed him from his initial head coaching job at Southeast Junior College in Fairbury, Neb. His first team (1982-83) rolled to a 29-6 record and a third-place finish in the junior college national tournament and Altman was honored as both Region 9 and the Nebraska College Coach of the Year.
In 1983, Altman accepted the head coaching position at Moberly (Mo.) Junior College, where his marvelous three-year run resulted in a staggering 94-18 record (25-9 in 1983-84; 35-5 with a third-place finish at the national tourney in 1984-85; and a 34-4 mark in 1985-86 with a sixth-place finish at nationals).
The Region 16 Coach of the Year during both the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons, Coach Altman was also a finalist for 1986 National Junior College Athletic Association Coach of the Year accolades.
Altman’s playing career began at Southeast Junior College in 1976. As a guard, Altman helped his team go 22-10 as a freshman and 26-5 as a sophomore, when he also captained the club.
Altman then completed his undergraduate education and playing career at Eastern New Mexico University. After earning his associate degree in business administration from Southeast in 1978, Altman graduated magna cum laude from Eastern New Mexico in 1980 with his bachelor’s degree in the same field.
Altman received his master of business administration degree from Western (Colo.) State in 1981. He served as an assistant coach on the Western State staff from 1980-82.
At Wilber (Neb.) High School, Altman was a two-sport letterman, earning all-conference honors as a quarterback on the football team and as a guard in basketball.
Altman was born June 16, 1958, in Crete, Neb. He and his wife, the former Reva Phillips of Stanton, Neb., have been married 26 years and have three sons, Jordan (25), Chase (23) and Spencer (21), and one daughter, Audra (17).
The Dana Altman File Personal • Wife - Reva • Children - Jordan (25), Chase (23), Spencer (21) and Audra (17) • Date of Birth - June 16, 1958 • Hometown - Wilber, Neb.
Collegiate Coaching Honors Creighton University • MVC Men’s Basketball Centennial Team Coach • 2004 Collegeinsider.com Jim Phelan Mid-Season Coach of the Year • 2003 Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist • 2003 NABC District 12 Coach of the Year • 2003 USBWA District VI Coach of the Year • 2002 Rawlings MVC Coach of the Year • 2001 Rawlings MVC Coach of the Year • 1999 NABC District 12 Coach of the Year Kansas State University • 1993 Big Eight Conference Coach of the Year Marshall University • 1990 Southern Conference Coach of the Year Moberly (Mo.) Junior College • 1986 Region 16 Coach of the Year • 1986 Finalist, NJCAA Coach of the Year • 1985 Region 16 Coach of the Year Southeast (Neb.) Junior College • 1983 Neb. State College Coach of the Year • 1983 Region 9 Coach of the Year
Collegiate Playing Experience • Eastern New Mexico - 1978-80, Guard • Southeast Junior College - 1976-78, Guard College Education • Western State University - M.B.A., 1981 • Eastern New Mexico - B.A., Business, 1980 • Southeast J.C. - A.A., Business, 1978