Mark Phelps Out As Drake Basketball Head Coach

By John Engel
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

After five seasons, and continued losing and frustration, Drake athletic director Sandy Hatfield Clubb has fired men’s basketball head coach Mark Phelps. Phelps was first called upon to turn Drake into a Missouri Valley Conference power, but that most certainly never happened.

The announcement came one week after the Bulldogs were eliminated from the Missouri Valley tournament by Creighton.

“He has a strong work ethic. He’s a man of integrity, and nobody worked harder the last five years,” said Hatfield Clubb after the firing was announced. “A decision like this is never easy. But I believe a change in leadership is what is needed in order to create a sustained level of competitive excellence.”

So, in other words, Phelps worked really, really hard but was just another awful basketball coach.

Phelps replaced Keno Davis, right after the latter led Drake to a Missouri Valley title in 2008. Since Phelps has been the head coach, the Bulldogs have completely fallen from supremacy in the conference.

Many of Drake’s key players saw the early signs of demise in Des Moines, Iowa, preceding the start of the cataclysmic 2012-13. Bulldogs star Rayvonte Rice transferred to Illinois before the start of the season, inducing moves from many of his former teammates.

The dismantled alignment of Bulldogs went on to finish with a record of 15-17.

Phelps leaves Drake with a record of 77-86, while never being able to reach the coveted 20 win mark at season’s end. Only twice did Phelps finish with a winning record. But remember, he works really, really hard.

Granted, it isn’t easy to be the mens basketball head coach at Drake; an institution prideful of academic excellence and poor basketball. Despite being considered a strong recruiter, Phelps was unable to make many of his players stay at the university for more than one season.


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