Conner Henry, who has led the Mad Ants to unprecedented heights in his first season, was selected D-League Coach of the Year by his peers today.
Henry, who led the Mad Ants to a 34-16 record and the league's regular-season championship, will guide his team into Game 1 of the playoff semifinals tonight in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Prior to this season, their seventh, the Mad Ants had never won more than 27 games and been to the playoffs only once, getting swept last season by Santa Cruz.
Under Henry, they lost three of their first eight games before stabilizing and winning the first division championship in team history. They are on a 15-game winning streak at Memorial Coliseum, which includes Sunday's 115-93 victory over Reno, which completed a two-game sweep of Reno in the first round of the playoffs.
Henry, who was an assistant coach the last two seasons with the D-League's Los Angeles D-Fenders, replaced Duane Ticknor in the offseason after Ticknor accepted an assistant-coaching job with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.
Henry had also been a head coach with Perth in the Australian National Basketball League.
During the season, five NBA-contracted players were entrusted to the Mad Ants: Solomon Hill and Orlando Johnson from the Indiana Pacers, Peyton Siva and Tony Mitchell from the Detroit Pistons and Jamaal Franklin from the Grizzlies.
The Mad Ants' other Tony Mitchell also received his first-ever NBA call-up to the Milwaukee Bucks, while Ron Howard became the D-League's all-time leading scorer.
Henry played in the NBA from 1986 to 1988 for Houston, Boston, Milwaukee and Sacramento. He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Rockets out of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
A 6-foot-7, 195-pound guard, he averaged 3.3 points and 1.1 assists in his NBA career.
He was MVP of the old Continental Basketball Association – in which the Fort Wayne Fury played – in 1990 and 1992 for Rapid City and Yakima, respectively.
"Conner has done a terrific job in Fort Wayne this season," said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. "Not only was Conner able to develop five young NBA players, but his Mad Ants performed at a high level night in and night out, as evidenced by their impressive 34-16 record and top overall seed in the 2014 NBA D-League postseason. I congratulate Conner on this well-deserved honor and a successful first season in Fort Wayne."