Less than three weeks before the start of practice, Southeast Missouri State University men's basketball coach Gary Garner finally has his staff in place.
New assistant coaches Gary Abner and John Daniel, along with holdover Keno Davis -- who has been moved up the ladder -- were introduced to the media Monday morning at the Show Me Center.
"I'm really excited about our new staff," said Garner, who saw assistants Tom Schuberth and Chris Lowery recently leave for other jobs. "All three coaches have great integrity, character and work ethic, the things you look for."
While the three assistants will be involved in all aspects of the basketball program, Davis and Abner will fill the top two positions on Garner's staff and will handle off-campus recruiting. Daniel, in the No. 3 role, is not allowed to recruit off campus but he will coordinate campus visits and underclass recruiting.
The 29-year-old Davis will be in his fifth season on the Southeast staff. He spent the past four years in the No. 3 role and he will be involved in off-campus recruiting for the first time, although he has been involved with that for the past few weeks as Southeast successfully petitioned the NCAA after Schuberth and Lowery left.
"Coach Davis has done an outstanding job for us the past four years and is ready to make the next step up the coaching ladder as he goes on the road as a recruiter," Garner said. "I can't tell you how hard Keno has worked for us."
Davis, son of former Iowa coach Dr. Tom Davis, served for two years as an assistant at Division II Southern Indiana before joining Garner's first staff at Southeast. Davis was involved in off-campus recruiting at Southern Indiana.
"This is a great opportunity for me," said Davis. "It's been a learning process for me the last four years, but I'm very fortunate to be able to work for someone like coach Garner."
Abner, 28, spent last year at junior-college powerhouse Hutchinson (Kan.) and he has also served as an assistant at Butler (Kan.), another juco heavyweight, along with Division I Missouri-Kansas City.
"Coach Abner has been on the road recruiting for several years and has proven to be an excellent recruiter," said Garner. "He has a great rapport with players and has the experience of having worked under several outstanding coaches. I've known of him for a while and he comes highly recommended."
Said Abner, a Kansas native who played basketball at Cowley County Community College in his home state, "I would like to thank coach Garner for giving me the opportunity to come to Southeast. I'm very happy to be here and ready to get going. Cape seems to have a lot of good people who really support the university."
Daniel, 42, has plenty of previous area ties. A 1977 graduate of Cape Girardeau Central High School, he was a volunteer assistant coach under Chris Janet at Notre Dame High School for three seasons in the mid-1990s before spending the last five years as a part-time assistant at Division III Washington University in St. Louis.
"I'm excited about bringing in a coach with his experience and maturity," said Garner of Daniel. "I am impressed with his knowledge and dedication to the game of basketball. He will work closely with me on game preparation."
Daniel, who has an undergraduate degree from Missouri-Rolla and a graduate degree from Harvard, has something of a unique background for a coach as he has spent much of his life in the business sector.
"This is really a special day for me. I never thought I'd be standing here eight years ago when I walked into Chris Janet's office and asked him if I could keep stats," said Daniel with a laugh. "My career has kind of taken off from there and I'm really excited about this opportunity."