MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – On Monday, Aug. 5, Penn State Harrisburg Athletic Director Rahsaan Carlton announced that Don Friday, a former NCAA Division I head coach and Division III national championship-winning assistant, has accepted the men's basketball head coaching position at Penn State Harrisburg. Friday takes over the program with nearly 25 years of coaching experience under his belt, nine of which were spent as a head coach.
"We are absolutely thrilled to bring on Don Friday as our head men's basketball coach," said Carlton. "He brings with him a wealth of college coaching experience and has been successful on many levels, particularly in Division III. I think this will really benefit our program as we move into the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC)."
Once the news became official, Friday issued a statement that laid out his goals and expressed his excitement over becoming a member of the Penn State Harrisburg community.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chancellor Kulkarni and Athletic Director Rahsaan Carlton for this wonderful opportunity to become Penn State Harrisburg's next head men's basketball coach," he said. "I, along with my wife Amy and son Donald, am thrilled to become part of the Penn State Harrisburg family.
"As we begin this new chapter in Penn State Harrisburg basketball, I look forward to building on the program's foundation laid by Coach (Mike) Gaffey. There has never been a more exciting time for the program as we prepare to enter one of the most competitive Division III conferences in the country, the CAC.
"First and foremost, my coaching staff and I will be committed to making our university the best possible place for all students to come together and grow into productive and happy citizens. In addition, we are here to build a program capable of consistently winning at the highest level by emphasizing teamwork, commitment and hard work.
"Our program's values will be simple:
1. Honor, respect and taking pride in the Penn State name and tradition.
2. Strive for academic excellence in our areas of study.
3. Develop a culture of leadership, accountability and integrity on and off the court.
"To reiterate, my family and I couldn't be happier to be joining the Penn State Harrisburg community during this exciting transition to the CAC. My staff and I will do our best to ensure we are developing student-athletes into productive and well-adjusted members of society."
From 2008-2012, Friday was the head coach at Division I Saint Francis (Pa.). Under Friday's watch, the Red Flash competed against some of the nation's most storied programs, including North Carolina, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. During his four-year stay at Saint Francis, Friday led the Red Flash to back-to-back Northeast Conference (NEC) playoff appearances in 2010 and 2011. The 2010 postseason berth was the team's first since 2005.
Prior to his time at Saint Francis, Friday was the head coach at Lycoming, where he manned the program's helm from 2003-2008. In 2004, Friday's squad won the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Freedom Tournament title and ranked second in the nation in rebounding amongst Division III teams. He was named the MAC Coach of the Year in 2006 and again two years later when he led the Warriors to the 2008 MAC Commonwealth regular season championship.
Friday also has over a decade of assistant coaching experience to his credit, including stops at Bucknell from 1994-2003, where he served under highly respected head coach Patrick Flannery , and Lebanon Valley, his alma mater, from 1989-1994. Friday was a member of the Dutchmen staff that led LVC to an NCAA Division III national championship victory in 1994.
"(Penn State Harrisburg) is really getting one of the good guys," said Flannery when asked about his former assistant's move to Middletown. "Coach Friday will run a successful program in every aspect of higher education - players' experience, community outreach, department support and an exciting product. He really understands the true student-athlete and the desire to compete will follow his kids for a lifetime. He is a teacher who will raise his players' expectations in and out of the classroom. All will appreciate this talented and dedicated coach. I am happy for him and proud of him."
Friday takes the reins of Penn State Harrisburg's men's basketball program following a brief stint as an assistant at Susquehanna a year ago. He earned his MBA and his Bachelor's of Science in Management from Lebanon Valley.