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Ex-SFU coach winds up at Susquehanna

October 9, 2012
By Cory Giger ( , The Altoona Mirror

Still stinging a bit from getting forced out at St. Francis, Don Friday dreaded the thought of not coaching anywhere this upcoming basketball season.

"There were no offers," Friday said, "because in our industry, the window of opportunity is really late February until the Final Four, and I missed that window of opportunity."

Then late last week, an opportunity did come Friday's way, and Monday he was named an assistant coach at Susquehanna University.

It's a big drop from Division I head coach to Division III assistant, but Friday is thrilled just to have a chance to coach. He will be working for Susquehanna head coach and longtime friend Frank Marcinek.

"It's an opportunity to be in the game, simple as that," Friday said by phone Monday night. "It's a chance for me to go to work with a guy that I have great respect for, I've known a very long time. He's giving me an opportunity to come in and be part of his program and fit in."

Friday was ousted at St. Francis on April 18 following a 6-23 season and 32-86 record in four years with the Red Flash. He was replaced the next day by one of his assistant coaches, Rob Krimmel, and that quick decision caused controversy because there was no coaching search and because Krimmel is the son of the athletic director, Bob Krimmel.

Friday wouldn't discuss the events that played out at St. Francis, but he did say, "Obviously it's a bitter pill to swallow when you really enjoy what you do, but things happen sometimes when you least expect it."

Friday worked some basketball camps during the summer and said, "There was no opportunity for me" in the coaching ranks. He recently moved his family - wife Amy and 13-year-old son Donald - from Ebensburg to Pottsville.

Friday enjoyed being able to focus on his family during his months away from coaching.

"I became one hell of a father to my kid," he said. "I pitched wiffleball, I played home run derby, I rode go-karts, I played Tom Brady in the backyard as the quarterback, I picked him up from school every day, and I made my son - and my wife - the focus of my life," he said.

"I spent a lot of time with my family. I cooked dinner and made lunch for my wife every day. I did stuff that over the last nine years as a head coach and over the last 13 years as an assistant coach that I didn't do. A couple of my really good friends in the business reminded me that my No. 1 job was being a dad."

But he couldn't wait for an opportunity to get back into coaching, and he's very appreciative Marcinek offered him a job.

"I look forward to having Don become a vital part of our program," Marcinek said in a statement.

"He did a great job at Lycoming and St. Francis and brings a strong work ethic along with invaluable coaching and recruiting experience. He has recruiting contacts throughout the entire coun

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