CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- To say new Marshall women's basketball coach Matt Daniel hit the ground running would be incorrect. It was more like the ground hit him running.
He was hired in June, very late in the cycle of coaching changes. He has a vision for turning around the Thundering Herd program, much like he did at his previous stop of Central Arkansas, but it will take awhile to carry it out.
Or even to address it.
"We were literally able, last week, to sit down and have our first really organized staff meeting, instead of grasping at straws, putting out fires," he said Monday. "We are transitioning through the transition.
"They talk about anytime you take over a program, and I've done this before, you're just trying to survive. I'm not interested in just trying to survive, but we're evaluating how we need to move forward in all aspects of the program, and I like the direction we're headed.
"How fast we get to where we want to go, I can't say that right now because we're playing catch-up in so many areas."
Playing catch-up isn't an enviable position when you have to face a top-25 team, and that's what the Herd faces in West Virginia tonight at the Capital Classic. The Mountaineers are 23rd in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and are receiving votes in The Associated Press poll.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, with all seats $7 general admission. The game will air on West Virginia public television (WPBY in Charleston-Huntington, Channel 5 on Suddenlink in the Kanawha Valley).
Daniel, who was once recruited by then-Marshall coach Billy Donovan, took the MU job on May 29 after a successful stint at Central Arkansas. There, he started with a six-win season and then flipped it around to three straight 21-win campaigns.
He replaced Royce Chadwick, who left after 11 seasons on the MU bench. The end of Chadwick's tenure was shaky at best, and included a painful-to-watch 78-21 loss to WVU in the 2011 Capital Classic.
Daniel brought two assistants from UCA, hired another from South Carolina State and plunged into the season with an entire Chadwick-recruited program - it was way too late to find an impact player.