Northern Tier Sports Report
When she played basketball for Towanda, Darien Lantz was a general on the court. Now Lantz will be a general on the sidelines as she recently took the women’s basketball head coaching position at Pitt-Greensburg.

She does this despite not yet seeing her 30th birthday.

“It’s surreal, but it’s a challenge I’m ready to take on,” said Lantz. “I have the ability to relate to the student-athlete experience, not being too far removed as a student-athlete myself. I’m persistent in the development of my own craft and coaching knowledge. As a now head coach, I can invest my full time and effort into other young adults through positive influence and constructive criticism which will generate a pathway to success.”

Lantz is familiar with the Pittsburgh college system, having played for and graduated from Pitt-Bradford. Originally, though, she didn’t want to coach college hoops.

“I was one year removed from college, and I got a little taste of coaching as a junior high/JV head coach, and the assistant varsity coach at Towanda High School,” explained Lantz. “I was told I wouldn’t be able to continue coaching after I accepted a full time job back home. I wouldn’t accept those terms. I felt lost without basketball, it’s been a passion of mine since fifth grade. I took a leap of faith, and made the decision to pursue it full time.”

She was an assistant coach at Thiel College for four years, which helped shape the coach she is today.

“I spent my time as an assistant under Thiel College’s head women’s basketball coach, Rob Clune,” explained Lantz. “He has a very lengthy, successful, and knowledgeable background throughout his playing and coaching career. He helped me expand my creativity and basketball IQ. He most importantly, taught me the power of patience. Differing scenarios in my player’s education, family, personal life, and basketball will cause stress. I must remain patient and be compassionate with my players to have them succeed on and off the court.”

Its people like these that she credits for spurring her down the career path she’s taken.

“I have an incredible group of supportive people in my corner, varying from former college teammates, coaches, and mentors that have multiple resources, and knowledge in the realm of college coaching,” explained Lantz. “This group positively vouched and prepared me throughout my journey to become a head coach.”

This is the first time, though, that she’ll be in the top spot - walking up and down the sidelines during the game.

“I slid one seat over, now I’m the one that will ultimately make all the game time situations and decisions that have my team’s best interest in mind first,” said Lantz. “As a head coach, I have been given more administrative caps to wear amongst the athletic department and campus community. I am also the Senior Woman Administrator and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Representative.”

Despite being a first year head coach, Lantz has set some high goals for her team.

“My first goal is to continue to increase our overall team academic success,” she said. “I want to create an environment of education that extends well beyond the basketball court. Next, my goal is to capitalize on the program’s relationship foundation. I plan to have open, honest conversations amongst my team, and alumnae, that will overall create an extension of family. Finally, my team has unfinished business. They lost in the 2022 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championship game. We most definitely have the AMCC title in our sights. I plan to expand their current skill set, and knowledge of the game to help them reach their full potential as an individual and a team.”

The team went 20-6 last year, 13-3 in conference, losing the finale 59-72 to LaRoche University.

“It’s a big mix of emotions, especially being a first-year head coach,” Lantz said about taking over a team that expects success. “The former head coach, Kelsey Oddis, undoubtedly left a tough act to follow. Unfortunately, we graduated well polished players, but with much credit to her, I have successful veteran players returning, and very talented incoming freshmen. I am confident in my abilities as a coach to expand my player’s current skill set, and continue the winning culture at Pitt-Greensburg.”

One person she’ll always be able to turn to is her father, Paul Lantz. Lantz was an assistant coach at Towanda during Darien’s time there, and helped them reach the district final during her sophomore year.

“My father has been very helpful to me since I started down this career path,” said Darien. “He is cultivated as a coach, and has been a great connection with school districts in Pennsylvania. He’s over the moon to assist when I ask for help, and will continue to be a very valuable resource in all aspects of recruiting and coaching. I would most certainly love to have him by my side on the bench as a coach in the future.”

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