Mad Ants sign head coach Steve Gansey to new two-year deal

Steve Gansey, Mad Ants

LAS VEGAS — Steve Gansey will continue on as head coach of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Gansey and the team reached agreement on a new multi-year contract prior to the tip-off of NBA Summer League in Las Vegas where Gansey is coaching the Pacers’ entry.

His contract with the Mad Ants, the G League affiliate of the Pacers, expired at the end of June. This new deal is for two years, a league source told

Gansey, 32, was hired as Mad Ants head coach back in 2015. He went 79-71 in his first four seasons as coach.

“It’s great. I’m really happy to be part of the Pacers organization,” Gansey said after the Pacers lost their opening game at the Las Vegas Summer League, 92-89, to the Houston Rockets.

“The Mad Ants have been unbelievable with me. I’m just really, really glad that I get to lead our lead young guys — the Pacers and the Mad Ants — and continue my growth as a basketball coach.”

Ever since the Mad Ants’ season ended in early April — they won the division and earned the second overall seed in the Eastern Conference — Gansey has been in Indy to work alongside the Pacers coaching staff. He was there for the end of their regular season, playoffs, and six pre-draft workouts.

“We are extremely fortunate to retain Steve as our head coach,” Mad Ants General Manager Brian Levy said in a statement. “He is a proven and effective coach, whose steady growth has been a pivotal reason behind the Mad Ants success during his tenure.”

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As much as summer league serves as development checkpoint and an elevated stage in the offseason with pressure moments, the same is true for coaches and training staffs. First, Gansey asked Pacers brass if he could head up the team’s summer league team.

The Pacers’ assistant coaches sat on the opposite sideline watching while Gansey and his staff, consisting of player development coach Dave McClure and the team’s video coordinators (Tim Dather, Ben Eblen, Jared Bartling), plus Mad Ants trainer Collin Brown, at the front of the bench.

“He’s great,” said 2017 first-round pick T.J. Leaf. “He’s a guy that really lets you play. He lets you play, he lets you make mistakes — and that’s what you want from a coach. You want to be able to play without looking over your shoulder every time.”

Gansey said the new contract applies only to him and does not extend to his assistants. That’s something he’ll address with Levy after summer league.

“My staff did an unbelievable job this past year,” Gansey said. “But those guys are looking, too. Those guys are trying to get head-coaching jobs, whether it’s in the G League or other opportunities around the league, too.”

Pacers head coach Nate McMillan is entering the final year of the original three-year contract he signed in 2016.

[Photo: Mad Ants]

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