Dana Kirk (basketball)

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Dana Grey Kirk (July 23, 1935 – February 15, 2010) was an American college basketball coach. He was the head coach for the Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) men's team from 1979 to 1986. His coaching record was 158–58, including a Final Four appearance in 1985. He had previously been the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University from 1976 to 1979 with a record of 57–23. Prior to that he was an assistant coach for Denny Crum at the University of Louisville.

Kirk built the Tigers into a national powerhouse with teams consisting largely of Memphis-area players. However, he only graduated six players in seven years, including only two on the celebrated 1985 team.

Only a year after the Final Four appearance, it was revealed that Memphis State had committed many severe recruiting violations while Kirk was head coach. In addition, Kirk himself was arrested on felony charges following an investigation.

In 1986, the NCAA forced Memphis State to vacate all of their NCAA tournament appearances from 1982 until 1985. Kirk was indicted by a federal Grand Jury on 11 counts of tax evasion, filing false income tax returns, mail fraud and obstruction of justice. At his trial, witnesses testified that he scalped tickets for as much as five times face value, took money from boosters to give to players and actively solicited kickbacks from tournament promoters. He served four months in a federal minimum-security prison in Montgomery, Alabama. After serving out his sentence, he returned to Memphis where he hosted a sports talk show on WHBQ (AM). He has also published his autobiography Simply Amazing, The Dana Kirk Story, written with Dallas talk show host and columnist Mark Davis, who was at WHBQ at the time.

He retired and lived in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife Denise McCrary, a successful attorney. If asked about any of the happenings surrounding his Memphis State years, he would only respond "I don't do negativity".

Dana Kirk died of a heart attack at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis on February 15, 2010.[1][2]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
VCU (Independent) (1976–1979)
1976–1977 VCU 13–13
1977–1978 VCU 24–5 NIT 1st Round
1978–1979 VCU 20–5
VCU: 57–23
Memphis State (Metro Conference) (1979–1985)
1979–1980 Memphis State 13–14 5–7 4th
1980–1981 Memphis State 13–14 5–7 5th
1981–1982 Memphis State 24–5^^ 10–2 1st NCAA Sweet 16^^
1982–1983 Memphis State 23–8^^ 6–6 4th NCAA Sweet 16^^
1983–1984 Memphis State 26–7^^ 11–3 T-1st NCAA Sweet 16^^
1984-1985 Memphis State 31–4^^ 13–1 1st NCAA Final Four^^
1985–1986 Memphis State 28–6^^ 9–3 2nd NCAA 2nd Round^^
Memphis State: 158–58& 59–29
Total: 215–81

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

^^Memphis State was forced to vacate its 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986 NCAA Tournament appearances, as well as its third-place standing in the 1985 tournament, due to recruiting violations. Official records are 23–4 for 1981–82, 22–7 for 1982–83, 24–6 for 1983–84, 27–3 for 1984–85 and 27–5 for 1985–86.

&Record at Memphis State is 149–53 without vacated games.

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