“We appreciate the leadership of Coach Darner and his focus on coaching and mentoring the outstanding student-athletes that have been part of this program during his tenure as head coach,” Alexander said. “We are a Division I university and remain committed to continuing the legacy of our outstanding Division I athletics program in the future.”
Athletic director Charles Guthrie said in a statement that school officials thank Darner “for his service and strong commitment to our student-athletes here at UW-Green Bay and to the Green Bay community over the past five years. Guthrie added that “we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Guthrie said a national search for Darner’s successor will begin immediately.
In Darner’s debut season at Green Bay in 2015-2016, the Phoenix went 23-13 and earned the school’s first NCAA Tournament bid in 20 years. The Phoenix lost to Texas A&M in the first round — Green Bay’s only NCAA Tournament win came in 1994, under coach Dick Bennett over California.
Darner’s teams followed that up by going 18-14, 13-20, 21-17 and 17-16 over the next four seasons. His squads went 11-7 or better in Horizon League competition four of his five seasons.
The 49-year-old Darner has an overall head coaching record of 384-197 that also includes 13 seasons at Division II programs – four at Saint Joseph’s (Indiana) and nine at Florida Southern. He led Florida Southern to a Division II national championship in 2015.
In a statement issued by the university, Darner thanked former Chancellor Gary Miller and former athletic director Mary Ellen Gillespie for hiring him. He also thanked his staff, recruits and current and former players while noting his program’s high graduation rates and Academic Progress Rate scores.
“I cannot wait to advance my career as a head basketball coach and am looking forward to new opportunities,” Darner said.