Wabash Valley Warriors: Dan Sparks

Dan Sparks
Head Coach

Dan Sparks
Position: Head Coach
Profile: Dan Sparks brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience to the Warriors as he enters his 4th year as the Head Coach at Wabash Valley.

Sparks coached for 26 years at Vincennes University in Vincennes, Ind., where he compiled a record of 706-193 at the junior college. He led the Trailblazers to 18 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XII titles, 12 NJCAA district or inter-regional titles, and 13 trips to the NJCAA Finals, held annually in Hutchinson, Kan.

Sparks led Vincennes to a 36-2 record and national runner-up finish in 1986, a 33-3 record, and third-place national finish in 1993 and a 32-4 mark and fourth-place finish in 1992. His 704 victories rank him No.1 in the state of Indiana among college basketball coaches (ahead of No. 2 Bob Knight by 45 victories), and he was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2000. He was named Kodak NJCAA National Coach of the Year in 1986 and ranks as VU's all-time career-wins leader. His Blazer squads reached 20 or more wins in 25 of his 26 seasons (including his final 24) and 30 or more wins 10 times.

While at Vincennes, Sparks coached several professional players including, Erik Williams (Boston Celtics/Toronto Raptors), Tyrone Nesby (Los Angeles Clippers/Washington Wizards), and NBA All-Star Shawn Marion (Phoenix Suns/Toronto Raptors/Dallas Mavericks). Sparks has also been a past president of the NJCAA Coaches Association and a member of the USA Basketball Collegiate Committee.

Sparks is not only an outstanding coach, but also had a stellar playing career. In 1964-65, as the team's starting center, he led Vincennes to a 28-6 record and NJCAA National Championship, as the Trailblazers became the first team east of the Mississippi River to claim the NJCAA title. He later moved on to play at Weber State, earning All-Conference honors and leading the Wildcats to a Big Sky Conference championship his senior season. Following college, he played with the Miami Floridians and New Orleans Buccaneers of the ABA and with the Chicago Bulls of the NBA.

Sparks broke into coaching at Vincennes under legendary coach Allen Bradfield, who won 607 career games. He spent the 1971-74 seasons with Bradfield, including helping the team to a perfect 33-0 record and NJCAA National Championship in 1972. Sparks spent 1974-78 as an assistant coach and chief scout with the Kansas City Kings (now Sacramento Kings) of the NBA. Following his stint with the Kings, Sparks began his coaching career at VU in the 1979-80 seasons.

Sparks completed his Bachelor’s Degree at Weber State in 1967 and his Master’s Degree from Indiana State in 1973. Sparks and his wife, Debbie, have one son, Scott. Scott played one season for his dad at Vincennes before transferring to Evansville; Scott later played professional basketball in Europe.