Daron Park was a big reason for Louisiana Tech's return to the NCAA Tournament last year as the Lady Techster associate head coach brought a wealth of knowledge with him when he joined Teresa Weatherspoon's staff prior to the 2009-10 season.
Park came to LA Tech after spending two years as an assistant coach on Brenda Frese's staff at Maryland where he was an integral part of the Terrapins success, helping Maryland to a pair of Elite Eight appearances in the NCAA Tournament and an ACC regular season and tournament title.
"Teacher," Weatherspoon said. "Daron is a great teacher of this game. He knows so much about the game of basketball. He has been there and done that. He coached at Maryland and everyone knows about the success of that program during the last decade.
"What I really like about Daron is he wants to be here, and he wants to be a part of this program. He wants to help with the rebuilding process as we put the program back on its foundation."
During his first year at Louisiana Tech, Park worked closely with the Lady Techster post players as Shanavia Dowdell and Adrienne Johnson both earned first team all-WAC honors.
Dowdell averaged a double double while ranking in the top 5 in the country in rebounding and earning her second straight WAC Player of the Year award. She was selected in the second round of the 2010 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics.
Individual success stories like there are not unfamiliar to Park.
During his coaching career, he has worked with a number of high-profile players including Kristi Toliver (All-American, Lieberman Award winner, WNBA 1st round selection), Marissa Coleman (WNBA 1st round), Crystal Langhorne (All-American, WNBA 1st round), Laura Harper (WNBA 1st round), Shona Thorburn (WNBA 1st round) and Kim Smith (WNBA 1st round).
During his first year at Maryland while head coach Brenda Frese was on leave for part of the season, Park served as acting head coach and led the Terrapins to an 8-1 mark with the lone loss coming in double overtime to No. 3 North Carolina. Included in those eight victories was a road win against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, completing the first sweep of the Blue Devils for the Terps in more than 15 years.
Park's responsibilities at LA Tech include on-the-floor coaching of the Techster post players, serving as the recruiting coordinator, overseeing the operating budget for the program, as well as overseeing scouting reports and game preparations.
"I am so excited to be a part of Coach Weatherspoon's staff and the tradition-rich program at Louisiana Tech," Park said. "Her passion for the university was evident from the first moment I spoke with her, and it is easy to see the positive impact she has had since her return to Ruston.
"There is an amazing amount of pride and support for women's basketball in the local community. I am anxious to continue to help Coach Weatherspoon build a program that will make past, present and future Lady Techsters proud."
Park was instrumental in helping Maryland earn a pair of Top 5 national rankings, a preseason WNIT Championship, two No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, and 64 victories, including a 24-4 mark in ACC games.
Prior to his stint at Maryland, Park served as an assistant coach for legendary Utah coach Elaine Elliott from 2004 through 2007 as the Utes won two Mountain West Conference championships and earned two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2006. During his three years at Utah, the Utes won 72 games.
Park also has head coaching experience as he served as the head coach at NAIA Westminster College for four years (2000-04) during which time the program boasted 30 academic all-conference recipients and eight Academic All-Americans. Park began his college coaching career as an assistant at Westminster in 1999.
The Great Falls, Montana native earned his bachelor's degree in health enhancement from Montana State in 1994.
Park and his wife Laura have one daughter, Rylee (10), and one son, Dillon (5).
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