Thunder hire two Gators basketball staffers

Two four-year staff members of the Florida Gators basketball team will leave their jobs to take positions with the NBA‘s Oklahoma City Thunder.

On Friday, the Thunder announced that Mark Daigneault, an assistant to head coach Billy Donovan, would take over the head coaching job of Oklahoma City’s NBA D-League affiliate, the 66ers.

“Mark has placed a high value on development throughout his career and we feel that he is well aligned with the goals of our organization,” said team senior vice president and general manager Sam Presti. “His experience at Florida under Coach Donovan has provided him the platform to apply his intelligence and relationship skills to help strengthen the program. We are excited about Mark joining the organization and continuing his professional growth.”

Daigneault, 29, was not a court coach at Florida but instead helped players with their off-the-court needs and scouted prospects. He also worked with Donovan as a USA Basketball staffer, serving the same role. Prior to his time at UF, Daigneault worked with Connecticut’s basketball program as a student and spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Holy Cross.


“I have had a great deal of respect for the Thunder organization throughout my career, and I’m excited to immerse myself in the culture there, and focus on the continued development of the program,” said Daigneault in a press release. “The University of Florida, Coach Donovan, the Florida basketball staff and players that I had the privilege of working with contributed to my personal and professional growth, and for that I am grateful as I embark on this opportunity with the Thunder organization.”

Noted Donovan: “Mark has been a valuable member of our staff the past four seasons, and I’m very happy to see him get this opportunity with a great organization. We all wish him the best of luck and know he’ll do a tremendous job.”

The Gators will also be losing video coordinator Oliver Winterbone to the Thunder, as he confirmed to OnlyGators.com late Friday afternoon.

Winterbone, who is partly responsible for Donovan’s recent infatuation with advanced statistics, has taken a position with Oklahoma City’s front office and will serve as a basketball information analyst beginning this season.

The Thunder have consolidated their basketball organizations with the 66ers set to play in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The franchise was based out of Tulsa from 2005-14.

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