Kemper’s road to Marshall

After Matt Daniel took over as head coach of the University of Central Arkansas’ women’s basketball team, his daily conversations with Tony Kemper, which fluctuated between basketball and philosophical matters, convinced Daniel to name Kemper his assistant coach.

After two successful seasons together at Central Arkansas, Daniel accepted the position as the women’s basketball head coach at Marshall University.

Daniel soon brought along his Central Arkansas assistant to Marshall to complete the transition of his former staff.

As the 2015 season approaches, Kemper enters his fourth season with Daniel and the Herd.

“He shares our staff’s vision for this level of play and sees the potential in what Marshall can become on a national level in college basketball,” Daniel said to Herd Zone.

Before he accepted Daniel’s offer to join his coaching staff, Kemper said the two had a strong connection.

“He used to come down and we used to talk basketball in the morning before his day started,” Kemper said. “We shared some philosophical things and argued about our differences, but he obviously thought that I was someone he could see working with and vice-versa on my end.”

Kemper said he considers himself lucky for the opportunity to join Daniel at Marshall.

“It just happened that I got lucky when the opportunity was there,” Kemper said. “We’re starting our fourth year here, and it’ll be my sixth year coaching under him.”

During Kemper’s time under Daniel at Central Arkansas, he helped the Sugar Bears to its first Division I conference title and three separate 21-win seasons.

Before Kemper’s time at Central Arkansas, he was an assistant coach at Hutchinson Community College.

“My coach that I played for called me after my first year as a head coach in high school and offered me an assistant job at one of the best junior colleges in the country, and I was getting ready to get married to my future wife at the time,” Kemper said.

Kemper said he and his wife discussed what would be in the best interest of the family. After much consideration, the couple decided it would be best for Kemper to accept the position at Hutchinson.

While Kemper has played and coached basketball at a variety of locations and competition levels, he said basketball has always been a big part of his life.

“I played basketball in high school and college,” Kemper said. “But when I got out into the real world, doing something else, I realized it just wasn’t for me,” Kemper said. “So, I went back and got my teaching certificate because I thought I wanted to coach in high school.”

During the 2003-04 season, Kemper led his Quivira Heights High School team in Bushton, Kansas to a No. 1 seed in the regional tournament as the head coach.

With previous experience leading a team, Kemper said he wants to eventually work his way back to a head coaching position.

“I would like to be a head coach someday,” Kemper said. “I guess I’ve always thought I’d get the opportunity at some point in time. I’ve been patient, but I want to take a job for the right reasons.”

Despite his desire to regain a head coaching position at some point, he said he truly enjoys his current role as a member of the Herd’s coaching staff.

“I think most people that coach eventually want to have the opportunity to see if they’re as smart as they think they are,” Kemper said.”

Brittanie Fowler can be contacted at [email protected].