DSU basketball coach Orton steps down, takes fundraising position
Ty Orton resigned Monday after seven years as the Dickinson State men’s basketball team’s head coach.
He has accepted the Dickinson State University Alumni and Foundation’s associate director of fundraising position.
Orton’s final day at the university will be May 15. He officially starts at the Foundation on May 19. DSU will conduct a national search for a new head coach.
“It’s a new challenge and something completely new,” Orton said. “I just told my players … they’re more than just basketball players and I just told them I’m more than a basketball coach. I’m going to go out there and do something different with my life and really branch out.”
Orton came to DSU in the 2007-08 season and since has led the Blue Hawks to a 89-113 overall record. In his second season as head coach, he helped guide the team to its first winning season in four years, with a 17-13 record and a playoff appearance.
This past season, the Blue Hawks finished 8-19 overall and 3-12 in the Frontier Conference. They missed the league playoffs.
Before DSU, Orton was the head coach at McCook (Neb.) Community College for five seasons. The resignation came as a shock to most, including DSU athletic director Tim Daniel.
Besides what Orton accomplished on the court, he was known for his emphasis on academics and molding well-rounded young men.
“One of the things Ty did was put things into perspective,” Daniel said. “Obviously the athletes at our level will not have a chance to go on and play and make a living at it, so put he in perspective what the educational part of it was, and that was first and foremost that they addressed their academics and use basketball as a vehicle to get a degree and go on and pursue whatever (they wanted) to from that point on.”
Orton has experience as a fundraiser. He coordinated Blue Hawk Booster Club membership and annual giving efforts alongside his coaching duties.
Kevin Thompson, CEO for the Foundation, expressed his excitement to have Orton come aboard and help take on the fundraising role full-time.
“Ty enjoys fundraising and this expanded, dedicated role with the DSU Foundation will be a win-win for all,” Thompson stated in a release. “Ty knows and promotes the value of Dickinson State University. He will be a great addition to our staff.”
Orton informed his team about his departure on Monday afternoon and said the players were supportive and took the news well.
When it came to putting a team together, Orton’s first priority was finding players with strong character.
After two poor seasons in the Frontier Conference and now his resignation, Orton said he has complete faith in the team for the upcoming season and the decision will have no effect on their ability to compete.
“The last couple of years have been tough, but I think everybody is going to be able to recover from those times,” he said. “These are two years everybody needed to put in, sports-wise and academically, and I think they’re going to start moving on the upward swing and everything is going to start getting a lot better over the next couple of years.”