Mavs and Hansen part ways after 17 seasons


Mitchell Cutcher

Derrin Hansen won 253 games throughout his 17 seasons leading the Omaha men’s basketball program. Hansen was named the 2019 Summit League Coach of the Year. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Derrin Hansen has been tied to the Omaha men’s basketball program since 1998 — first as an assistant coach from 1998 to 2005 — and he’s led the program ever since. Late Sunday afternoon, Omaha Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Adrian Dowell announced that after 17 seasons, Hansen would not be returning as the head coach of the Mavericks.

“After a careful assessment of the program, I am confident that under new leadership, Omaha Basketball can achieve sustainable success at the top of our league, and we are committed to elevating the program’s stature,” Dowell said in a press release. “We will immediately begin a nationwide search for the new head coach of Maverick Basketball.”

After finishing the season with a 5-25 record, and a 4-14 record in Summit League play, Dowell made the decision to move on from Hansen. The decision for a change in leadership came less than 24 hours after the Mavericks’ season came to an end in the Summit League tournament.

Omaha fell to top-seeded South Dakota State in the first round of the conference tournament, 87-79. The loss to the Jackrabbits was reminiscent of most games this season. The Mavericks were competitive, but ultimately were unable to walk away with a win.

Although many will point to the record this season right away, which was the worst under Hansen as a head coach, Hansen left a mark on so many in the Omaha community that can’t be measured in wins and losses. He’ll always be remembered for guiding the Mavericks through the transition of jumping from a Division II to a Division I program, which is not easy.

During his 17-year stint as Omaha’s head coach, Hansen made a positive impact on the life of so many student-athletes that he had the chance to coach.

“Thank you, Coach Hansen for believing in me and helping me accomplish my dreams,” Nick Ferrarini said on Twitter. “He’s not just a great coach but an even better person and someone that I’m so thankful I got the opportunity to play for.”

The Mavericks dropped seven games by single digits in Summit League play, another sign of how close the program is. A good portion of this current roster could return next season, as Omaha only honored two seniors in Marco Smith and Wanjang Tut. However, that’s yet to be seen and there’s a long off-season ahead.

That off-season got off to an interesting start as Hansen was let go.

Whoever takes over as the next head coach of the Omaha men’s basketball program will have big shoes to fill. That person will also become the first major hire under Dowell, barring any other movement in the athletic department, and will become just the second head coach in the Division I era of the program. A national search will be conducted.

Omaha’s 2021-22 season may have ended on Saturday night, but in the bigger picture, Sunday, March 6, marked the end of an era as well.