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Dane Fife gears up in Spartan green after stint in Indiana

Dane Fife and Tom Izzo. Courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications (click for larger version)
April 27, 2011 - Clarkston grad Dane Fife is heading back to Michigan after accepting a new position.

Last Wednesday Michigan State Men's Basketball Coach Tom Izzo announced Fife as his assistant coach.

"Coming to Michigan State is an opportunity to be a part of a first-class program," said Fife. "I'm excited to be a part of one of the top programs in the nation, and to work for Coach Izzo, who I believe is the best in the country. I'm truly honored to be the latest addition to the Spartan basketball family."

Fife has spent the last six seasons as head coach for Indiana University/Purdue University, Fort Wayne, where he posted a 82-97 record with a 18-12 record in the last season alone.

"I want to thank IPFW and my players for the opportunity they've given me over the last six years," said Fife. "I'm giving up a lot, but gaining a ton in return. At this point in my life, the opportunity to be a part of an unbelievable staff and operation is simply one I could not turn down."

Fife's relationship with Izzo began when the 1998 graduate was still in high school and Izzo was trying to recruit him to become a Spartan.

"I'm happy to finally get him to Michigan State," said Izzo, in a press release.

"His toughness, competitive spirit and enthusiasm will be great additions to our staff. Having played at Indiana and growing up in Michigan, he knows the Big Ten well and has recruited the area. As a player, he understands the commitment and dedication needed to reach a Final Four."

Also excited to have Fife back in Michigan is his family.

"He is coming home," said Dan Fife, father and Clarkston Wolves Boys Varsity Basketball Coach.

"I couldn't be happier," he continued. "Coach Izzo was really involved with Dane's recruitment."

When Dane chose to go to Indiana University, the relationship didn't end.

"When coaches lose a kid, it is so competitive that you lose a relationship," said Dan. "Coach Izzo always kept a strong relationship with not only Dane but myself and my mother and dad."

Dan added Izzo would always make a point to talk to Dane's grandparents if they were in Indiana for a game and State happened to be playing them.

"It is a tremendous opportunity for Dane to grow and help him," said Dan.

He added Dane began playing and learning from the day he was born. In addition to the successful program Michigan State already has in place, Dan said Dane will add his belief system and his character.

"As any dad would talk about his son, he is going to say positive things," Dan added. "I have watched him as a player and a coach. He works extremely hard on and off the floor, 365 days a year. He is a competitor and that is nothing that isn't there already. It is just a different perspective."

Dane was named head coach at IPFW in March 2005 and became the youngest head coach in Division 1 basketball at 25-years-old.

Dane guided the team from Independent status to membership in the Summit League.

During the 2010-2011 season, the team secured the fourth seed in the Summit League Tournament, the highest seed the program has had in the four years since they joined the league.

While playing for Clarkston, Dane was the recipient of the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award in 1998 and was a McDonald's and Parade All-America selection.

His family includes his wife, Blair, and daughter Quinnly.

Dane replaces Mark Montgomery, who took the head coach position at Northern Illinois in March.

"I am proud of my sons today for who they have become than any other achievements they have ever accomplished," Dan said about sons, Dugan, Jeremy, and Dane. "Their biggest achievement is who they have become in life a good husband and a good father. I consider myself successful because of who my sons are in my eyes."

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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