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Potential UNK men’s basketball coaching candidates


The UNK Men’s Basketball season ended with a 80-67 loss to Fort Hays State on Friday. And with that, their coaching search begins. Kevin Lofton resigned after one game, and Antoine Young has served as the interim.

Even though the Lopers ended their season with a record of 5-22, and not winning a game in the 2024 calendar year, the job might not be enticing. However, positions that open in the MIAA automatically generate some interest, simply by being in the same conference as powerhouse programs in Northwest Missouri, Central Oklahoma, and Fort Hays State.

Here’s a look at a few names that I think will pop up in the Lopers coaching search.



Current Position: Interim Head Coach – Nebraska Kearney

Serving as the interim coach this year, Young had the opportunity this season to use as a tryout. Things were looking on the up and up early in conference action, with wins against Northeastern State and Missouri Western. However, the year 2024 was not kind. The team was unable to get a win, and numbers have been depleted. Young has been a key recruiter for lots of the UNK players under Kevin Lofton’s previous teams.



Current Position: Assistant Coach – Fort Lewis College (NCAA D2, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference)

A former Loper player under Lofton, Danielson has MIAA coaching expierence, serving as a graduate assistant at Missouri Western under current head coach Will Martin. He’s also been on a staff that’s been able to have Fort Lewis competitng very well in the NCAA South Central Regional. 

A York native, this is the perfect opportunity to return home.



Current Position: Head Boys Basketball Coach – Kearney High School

It’s been well rumored that Beranek wants the UNK coaching opportunity. A former Loper who was coached by Lofton and former UNK men’s basketball coach Tom Kropp, Beranek walked on to the Huskers for his senior season, averaging 4.2 ppg and 2.4 rpg while appearing in all 32 games, starting in five. 

Beranek also has a college coaching background, so he has been familiar with recruiting, as he was a graduate assistant coach at Hastings College, and was an assistant at Doane. 

Beranek, originally from Ravenna, would be a coaching hire that some around the conference would question, simply because he is currently a high school coach. However, he’s built the expierence that he would do well with the Lopers.



Current Position: Head Mens Basketball Coach – Hastings College (NAIA – Great Plains Athletic Conference)

The three previous candidates have ties in some way to the legacy of Tom Kropp and Kevin Lofton at Nebraska-Kearney. That isn’t a bad thing by any means, but there will be some from outside the Kropp-Lofton player network that would be interested with this position. McCook’s Todd Raridon, formerly a national champion at Nebraska Wesleyan and current head coach at Hastings College, is my frontrunner if the Lopers decide to go outside of the box.

Raridon has been able to turn around a Broncos program that was struggling. At press time, the Broncos are 22-8. They won their first regular season conference championship in over 30 years this season, and will compete with Morningside for the tournament championship on Tuesday. 

Raridon was able to quickly turn around an underperforming Hastings program in two years, from a sub-.250 record to competing for a conference championship. Raridon has the turnaround experience that is unmatched.

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Alex Hammake
Alex Hammake, Reporter
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