Dana Eikenberg has had quite the fall from grace.
Eikenberg was the last Southern Illinois University Carbondale women’s basketball coach to lead the Salukis to a Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship. Two seasons later, she was out the door and off the public radar.
Alas, Eikenberg has resurfaced, in the MVC, no less, as the Director of Basketball Operations for the Wichita State Shockers. Eikenberg joins former top assistant Jody Adams, who currently serves as head coach of the Shockers, along with assistant coach Carlai Moore, who was the Salukis’ top scoring threat when Eikenberg coached the team to its championship run.
In 2009, Eikenberg and the Salukis split ways after a second straight losing season mired by departures and alleged abuse and misconduct. It goes down in the record books as a resignation, though sources indicated the parting of ways came with a negotiated buyout.
(FYI: The first round of allegations was soundly covered by my good friend, and co-founder of The Big Dead Sidebar, Matt Hartwig. You can read about them here.)
Eikenberg has yet to address the media since her departure from Carbondale. I would know, I was the sports editor of the Daily Egyptian (SIU’s student newspaper) and I did everything in my power to get Eikenberg on the record. It was a taste of real world journalism at the ripe ole age of 22. I acquired contract paperwork in a parking lot. Dug up unlisted phone numbers and made phone calls at all hours of the day. Staked out her house for hours at a time.
(Pardon me while I get nostalgic about journalism, because it’s something I legitimately cared about at the time.)
Eikenberg never did respond to any calls, texts or emails. Which was disappointing at the time, and even more so in retrospect. I was always curious to hear her side of the story. At least, some sort of statement in defense of the allegations being lobbed in her direction.
So, where has Eikenberg been between stops in the Valley?
The ex-Saluki head coach served as the president & Chief Executive Officer of Reinvent1 from January 2010 until September 2011. a consulting firm that specializes in “leadership development and support to leaders in the athletic profession, including coaches, administrative leaders and their staff.”
Interesting stuff, to say the least.
With 20 days until MVC Basketball Media day, I can’t help but wonder what kind of buzz is building about this hire, let alone the buzz that would surround an Eikenberg trip to Carbondale.
In any case, here’s hoping Eikenberg truly re-invented herself during her hiatus. And I can’t wait to hear the story behind it.