Three days before his 29th birthday, Daniel Prevett takes over today as Tennessee Temple University men's basketball coach.
Unlike his predecessors who guided the Crusaders to 23 and 22 wins and national tournaments the past two years and then left after one season each, Prevett comes to Chattanooga with no head-coaching experience. He's been the chief assistant the last six years at Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky., under Will Shouse, who was his coach in his final year as a player at Kentucky Christian.
Shouse told the TTU selection committee that Prevett was "ready to move to the next level of coaching," new Temple athletic director Randy Crawford said Thursday, and Prevett certainly feels that way.
"It's time," he said. "I've interviewed every summer the last three years for a head coach or assistant coach job, and I finished my master's degree in March. I had two interviews prior to this one this summer, and they didn't work out, so I was starting to make plans to return to Asbury, which would've been fine.
"Then God opened this door."
As further evidence in his and his wife's minds that this was the Lord's will, Prevett got a call less than an hour after leaving Chattanooga with the job offer in hand last Friday evening that, out of the blue, the house in Kentucky that they had been trying to sell since late winter was ready to close -- after a stream of obstacles since they reached an agreement with a buyer in June. The closing happened Monday.
Prevett's master's is in sports management, and he also will be the assistant athletic director and teach some classes, mainly in the sports administration department.
"We had close to 50 applications, and the committee broke that down to five and we interviewed those by phone," Crawford said. "Then we had Daniel come in, and I think most all the folks were impressed with him. He met with the president and with all the committee members.
"I don't think his inexperience is a problem, because he's had plenty of experience. He's worked in all aspects of the program [at Asbury]. And I think being younger, working with the players that we have, is a good thing because of his testimony and the live he's lived. I think the souls of the kids are on his mind, and that's the main thing we want.
"It says 'Distinctively Christian' on our logo, and that's what we want everything about our school to be."
Prevett said he is very much in tune with that and also is aware of Temple's winning tradition -- seven National Christian College Athletic Association national titles in men's basketball. And he knows he's following a return to the NCCAA Division I nationals in 2013 and a USCAA runner-up finish in 2014.
"Yeah, I want to keep winning, but the main challenge is how the team and the players are viewed in the Chattanooga community," Prevett said.
The school's planned move to the Woodland Park Baptist Church campus in 2015 is another attraction for him, he said, as is Chattanooga in general.
"Everybody I've run into says, 'You're going to love Chattanooga,' and my wife is excited to go around and see different things here," said Prevett, who grew up in Louisville, Ky., after his early years in southern Alabama.
At Kentucky Christian he was "an undersized big" -- a 6-foot-3 post player.
"I had some athletic ability, but I was always playing against guys who were bigger than me and stronger than me," he said. "I had to play with my head. I was a mental player. I guess that made the coaching transition smoother."
He didn't plan to be a coach. His father is a certified financial planner, and Daniel's KCU degree was in business administration. He began working with his dad's firm but helped a small private Christian school with its boys' basketball team, and then Shouse called when he left for Asbury and offered him a job.
"My dad still asks every day, 'Are you sure about this?"' Prevett said with a smile. "But I thought it would be fun to do."
And now the fun really starts.
Contact Ron Bush at email@example.com or 423-757-6291.