Fife becomes youngest Division I coach

Updated: March 24, 2005, 8:14 PM ET
Associated Press

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Former Indiana basketball star Dane Fife became the nation's youngest Division I coach when he was hired by Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne on Thursday.

Fife, 25, was a catalyst on the Hoosiers' Final Four team that lost to Maryland in the 2002 NCAA championship game.

"Dane brings a great tradition of basketball coaching experience," IPFW athletic director Mark Pope said in a statement. "In short, he is a great fit for IPFW at this stage of our development."

Fife takes over a program that has struggled badly since getting approval to move up from Division II in fall 2000.

Coach Doug Noll was fired in January after going 40-119 in more than five seasons with the Mastodons, including a 3-13 record last season before his dismissal. He was replaced by Joe Pechota, but the results weren't much better as IPFW finished 7-22.

Fife spent the last two seasons on Mike Davis' staff at Indiana. Last year, Fife was the Hoosiers' administrative assistant and was responsible for breaking down videotape of opponents, running basketball camps and assisting with recruiting.

"My goal has always been to become a successful college coach and to help young men reach their full potential, both on and off the court," Fife said in a statement. "IPFW men's basketball is on its way to becoming an outstanding program, and I will give everything that I have within me to bring it to the next level."

At Indiana, Fife set the career steals record (180), was chosen as the Big Ten's 2002 defensive player of the year and ranked among the school's top 20 in assists (307) and 3-pointers (99). He shot 47.8 percent from 3-point range in 2001-02, sixth in school history, and started a single-season record 37 games as a senior.

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 with Gary.

Fife surpasses Virginia Commonwealth's Jeff Capel as the youngest Division I head coach. Capel is 30.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press