Gophers assistant O’Banion hired to lead Loyola Maryland

A University of Minnesota Gophers women’s basketball assistant coach has been hired to lead her own program.

Danielle O’Banion was named the head coach of Loyola University Maryland on Friday.

O’Banion had been on the Gophers staff for the past three seasons under Lindsay Whalen, where she was in charge of co-directing defensive schemes, coaching post players and preparing scouting reports and game strategies.

"Coach Danny brought 20 years of coaching experience to our staff at the University of Minnesota," Whalen said in a statement. "During her time here Danny brought a passion for the game that was second to none. Her wealth of knowledge of the game will be a tremendous asset to Loyola University Maryland as she leads its women’s basketball program."

O’Banion was also an assistant coach for the Gophers from 2002-03 through 2006-07, the best five-year run in school history. She served as Kent State’s head coach from 2008 through 2012.

At the 2016 NCAA Women’s Final Four in early April, O’Banion received the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award for women’s basketball, which is presented by USBWA annually to players, coaches, officials or administrators in women’s college basketball that have demonstrated extraordinary courage in the face of adversity. She received the honor for her fight against cancer after being diagnosed with Stage 2 lymphoma in 2014. While receiving treatment, O’Banion still coached every game and missed only a handful of practices. Six months later, she was told the cancer had gone into remission and she remains cancer-free.

As a student-athlete, O’Banion was a standout for the Boston College women’s basketball program from 1997-2001. She helped lead the Eagles to the program’s first two NCAA Tournament berths in 1999 and 2000, and Boston College advanced to the tournament’s second round both seasons. O’Banion was voted a team co-captain her senior campaign.