Throughout the years, there have been several dates that have become important to the history of the men's basketball program at Southern Miss. The hiring of Donnie Tyndall as the 19th head coach in Southern Miss basketball history has already proved to be one of them.
Tyndall took over a team that was the youngest in the country and led them to a 27-10 record and a trip to the NIT Quarterfinals. The 27 wins were the most by a first-year coach, as well as the most-ever since the Golden Eagles became a Division I program. The Golden Eagles finished the year with two wins in the NIT, the first two postseason victories since 1988.
Tyndall's squad proved to be one of the best in Conference USA, winning its first seven conference games on its way to a 12-4 record, the most C-USA wins in school history, and a second-place finish. It also made their first-ever appearance in the Conference USA Tournament championship game. His efforts helped his earn National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 11 Coach of the Year.
His team rewrote the record book, setting 44 school records, seven Conference USA records and eight Reed Green Coliseum records, including tying a Green House record with 23-straight home victories.
Tyndall's hiring also showed dividends in the crowd, as Southern Miss had its best attendance in more than 20 years.
He also helped Dwayne Davis become just the second Golden Eagle to earn First Team All-Conference USA honors.
Tyndall came to Southern Miss after heading up the Morehead State basketball program from 2006-12, amassing a 114-85 overall record, including 70-40 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Grand Rapids, Mich., native has led the Eagles to postseason play three of the past four years, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and 2011.
Tyndall took over Morehead State in 2006, inheriting a squad that finished 4-23 the previous year. Tyndall immediately made his mark on the school, improving the team's win total in each of his first five years. His squads won at least 20 games from 2008-11 after Morehead State reached the 20-win plateau just twice in its history prior to his arrival.
He also led Morehead State to the biggest increase in RPI in the country, taking over a team that was ranked 321st in RPI to the 77th ranked team just five years later.
Tyndall's first squad tripled their win total from the previous year, finishing the year 12-18. The following season, the Eagles were picked 10th in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll. However, MSU finished 15-15 overall and third in the conference, earning 2008 OVC Coach of the Year honors.
Things really came together in 2008-09. The Eagles went 20-16, winning the Ohio Valley Conference and making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1984. MSU faced Alabama State in the First Four, defeating the Hornets before falling to Louisville in the second round.
In 2009-10, Morehead State again improved its win total, going 24-11 and making it to the second round of the College Basketball Invitational. That year, Athlon's Sports Magazine deemed him one of the Top 10 Under the Radar Coaches.
Tyndall had his best season yet in 2010-11. The Eagles set a Morehead State record for wins, finishing 25-10. They also won their second OVC Championship under Tyndall and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time, defeating Louisville in the second round. For his efforts, Tyndall was recognized as the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District Coach of the Year.
That year's squad was led by Kenneth Faried. Under Tyndall's tutelage, Faried became a two-time OVC Player of the Year, an All-American and the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder on his way to becoming the 22nd overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets.
In his final year at Morehead State, the Eagles finished 18-15 record and finished third in the OVC.
Tyndall's players were also proficient in the classroom, as 13 of 14 seniors who have exhausted their eligibility have graduated.
Prior to Morehead State, served as an assistant coach at Iowa Central Community College (1993-96), head coach at St. Catharine College (1996-97) assistant coach at LSU (1997-01) and associate head coach at Idaho (2001-02) and Middle Tennessee State (2002-06).
At Middle Tennessee State, Tyndall helped the Blue Raiders average 17 wins per season while helping to lead them to four consecutive winning seasons. As the recruiting coordinator, Tyndall twice earned MTSU Top 25 recruiting classes in 2003 and 2004. Both classes were also ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference.
In his only year at Idaho, Tyndall helped the Vandals land the No. 15 recruiting class in the country in 2002.
During his time at LSU, Tyndall helped recruit three classes that were ranked in the Top 25 nationally, including the top ranked class in 1998. He coached five players who earned All-SEC honors, four of which went on to play in the NBA. In 2000, he helped the Tigers win the SEC Championship and advance to the Sweet 16, ranking 10th in the final AP Poll.
In his one season as the head coach of St. Catharine, Tyndall led the team to a school-record 30-5 mark and its first ever appearance in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament. That year, he was named Region 7 National Coach of the Year, Kentucky Junior College Coach of the Year and Kentucky-Tennessee Junior College Coach of the Year.
Originally from Grand Rapids, Mich., Tyndall played collegiately at Morehead State from 1990-93. He earned his bachelor's degree from Morehead State in 1993 and his master's degree from LSU in 2000.
Tyndall has two daughters, Taylor Elise and Grace Elizabeth.