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With 18 years of head coaching experience under his belt,, Pennsylvania native Kurt Kanaskie is in his eighth season at Penn State and was promoted to Associate Head Coach prior to the 2009-10 season after six seasons as an assistant.
Prior to coming to Penn State, Kanaskie served as the head coach at Drake for seven seasons (1996-2003) and was one of the most successful Division II head coaches in Pennsylvania history.
At Drake, Kanaskie inherited a program on NCAA probation with few scholarship players returning. Under Kanaskie, Drake posted the most conference victories in a season in nearly a decade and its highest Missouri Valley Conference finish in 16 years while the team's overall record improved each of his first six seasons. He was the 2000-01 MVC Coach of the Year runner-up.
Prior to his tenure at Drake, Kanaskie was head coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) for eight seasons. Kanaskie inherited an IUP program that had posted four straight losing seasons and, after a first year of building a solid foundation, posted seven straight winning records. In 1993, IUP made the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) semifinals for the first time in 16 years. The next season (1994-95), IUP grabbed its first national ranking in school history (No. 5), earned an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time ever and advanced to the Elite Eight. A year later (1995-96), IUP earned a No. 1 national ranking and advanced to the national semifinals. Kanaskie was twice named PSAC Coach of the Year, earned NABC District Coach of the Year honors twice and was twice named the Basketball Times National Coach of the Year.
Prior to his tenure at IUP, Kanaskie served as the head coach at nearby Lock Haven University for three years (1985-88). He inherited a Bald Eagle program that was 18-84 over the previous four seasons and in his first year set a school record for wins with 15. His LHU team reached the NCAA Tournament a year later and earned the school's first-ever national ranking. He was named PSAC Coach of the Year twice at LHU, giving him a total of four PSAC coaching awards.
The Mechanicsburg, Pa., native began his coaching career as an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina and served on the Gamecock staff for five seasons. Kanaskie was an All-State basketball player at Cumberland Valley High School and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from LaSalle University in 1980 and a Master of Business Administration from South Carolina in 1985. While at LaSalle, he earned All-Big Five and All-East Coast Conference honors, was an Academic All-American, and left as the school's ninth all-time leading scorer. He was drafted by the NBA's Golden State Warriors.
Kurt has three children: two sons, Kevin and Kyle, and a daughter, Kristin. Kevin was a standout guard at Middle Tennessee State from 2006-09. Kyle is currently a starter on the State College Area High School basketball team.