DRAFFENVILLE – Marshall County sports fans are quite familiar with Dan Langhi, one of the best basketball players the school has ever produced.
They remember how he led the Marshals to the state tournament Final Four in 1995, watched him complete a stellar career at Vanderbilt, then followed his progress through a six-year stint in the NBA.
Last year, Lady Marshal volleyball fans got to see the 6-11 Langhi in a new envrionment, on the sidelines of a volleyball court as an assistant to MCHS head coach Shannon Gipson.
The head coach’s job will belong to Langhi this year.
He was offered the job two weeks ago, just before the summer “dead period,” and was able to meet with returning players before the mandatory break during which coaches and players are not to have contact.
“I was pretty excited,” Langhi said, “because a lot of them are excited.”
Gipson, who coached the team the past two seasons as a paraprofessional while she finished her undergraduate degree at Murray State, resigned to pursue a graduate degree, according to MCHS athletic director Jeff Stokes.
Gipson played volleyball and basketball for Marshall County. Last year’s team, her second, finished the year with a 12-25 record, ending their season in the first round of the Region 1 tournament after taking a runner-up finish in the District 4 tourney.
The team was 18-17 in Gipson’s first year after she replaced Clare Boggess.
Langhi’s net experience in organized volleyball competition consists of last season.
He was a multi-sport athlete when he was younger, playing Khoury League baseball and youth soccer before a growth spurt led him to focus on basketball.
He never played volleyball, except as a recreational activity in someone’s backyard.
Langhi watched and listened and learned.
“I didn’t have the background to be more outspoken with the players,” he said. “As the year went on, I started doing more.”
Langhi was impressed last year with the effort of the young Lady Marshals team.
“Even though we had quite a few juniors and sophomores, none of them had much varsity experience,” he said.
Langhi was gratified to learn that many of the players who will return to make up his first team took the advice of their previous coach and have kept playing on club teams during the summer.
“That’s good experience for them and it’s exciting as a coach to see players making that effort to improve.”
Langhi was named to the Marshall County Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame last year.