Jordan Altman, the son of University of Oregon head coach Dana Altman and a former assistant at four-year and community colleges, is the new men’s basketball coach at Grays Harbor College.
The 28-year-old Altman arrived in Aberdeen last week. His appointment ends a tumultuous period in which the Chokers had three coaches in seven months.
Grays Harbor athletic director Tyler Gaston announced his resignation as men’s basketball coach in February. Allen Caveness, a successful junior college coach in California, was named during the summer to succeed him, but college officials subsequently withdrew the contract offer for undisclosed reasons.
At that point, Gaston announced he would be returning to the bench next season. But Altman, who had declined the position early in the interview process, expressed a change of heart after learning that Caveness would not be coming to GHC.
Saying that Altman was at the top of the application list originally, Gaston agreed to relinquish the head coaching job, although he will remain on the staff as an assistant.
“I’m excited to have it happen,” Gaston said Thursday.
Altman said a variety of personal and professional factors figured into his initial decision to refuse the job, but ultimately came to the conclusion that GHC was the best fit for him.
“I found a lot of great jobs out there, but I didn’t find (a lot of people) I’d be working for that would help me improve,” he said. “When I weighed my options, the opportunity that I thought would give me the most advantage was to come here.”
A graduate of Creighton University in Nebraska, where his father coached, Altman was a student manager and what he termed a liaison at his alma mater and served as a graduate assistant at Wayne State and Indiana State universities.
He followed his dad to Eugene as Oregon’s video coordinator two years ago, but said he was frustrated by NCAA restrictions that prevented him from working with players at practice. Saying he missed being courtside, he accepted an assistant coaching job at Lane Community College in Eugene last year.
Altman did much of Lane’s game strategy last season, according to Gaston.
“I would say he was the head coach, for all intents and purposes,” Gaston said.
Gaston noted that Altman refused to use his family’s reputation as a selling point.
“Nowhere in his resume did he put that he was Dana Altman’s son,” the GHC athletic director said. “I was impressed by that. He obviously wanted to make it on his own.”
Altman favors an aggressive style of play on both ends of the court.
“We’re fast,” he said. “Everything we try to do is an attack mode. I don’t want to say 40 minutes of hell (former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson’s trademark phrase), but we will press. Our defense will change, possession by possession.
“We have two rules,” Altman added. “Everything on offense is nose to the goal and it’s the exact opposite on defense.”
Altman, who has already established residence in Aberdeen, will initially draw only a basketball coaching salary but is keeping tabs on possible other positions on campus.
He and Gaston met with the team Monday.
“I would say the enthusiasm is good,” Gaston reported.