his first season at Siena, Lanier orchestrated one of the great comeback seasons in Siena basketball history. Lanier guided the Saints to the NCAA Tournament after beginning the season 4-10 and entering the conference championships as the #7 seed. He then guided Siena to an Opening Round victory over Alcorn State and an impressive showing against National Champion Maryland in the Tournament's first round. Lanier was the youngest coach to have his team qualify for last season's Tournament, and just the second coach in NCAA history to garner a Tournament victory with a losing record.
In 2003, Lanier and the Saints enjoyed even more success, winning 21 games including two Postseason NIT contests in the friendly confines of Pepsi Arena. Now, with three of the school's most heralded recruiting classes in place, it is evident that Lanier has set the foundation for an exciting future in Loudonville.
On April 18, 2001 Lanier became the 13th men's basketball coach in the school's storied history. Born July 24, 1968 Lanier is the seventh youngest coach in Division I and the most youthful member of the Saints' experienced staff. A 34-year-old native of Buffalo, Lanier comes to the Capital Region after spending the previous two seasons at Big 12 Conference member Texas.
During his time at Texas, Lanier was a vital part of the Horns' recruiting success, helping UT land a consensus top-10 national class. In his two seasons at Texas, the Longhorns finished in the top-25 of the AP poll each year, marking the first time in school history a team has ended consecutive seasons nationally ranked. The 49 wins amassed by the Longhorns equalled the school's previous two-year record high. He also played a roll in the signing of McDonald's All-American TJ Ford, widely regarded as the nation's top point guard in the class of 2001.
Before his arrival in Austin, Lanier served as an assistant on Kevin Bannon's staff at Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, Lanier was instrumental in helping the Scarlet Knights secure back-to-back nationally-ranked recruiting classes. In his first year at Rutgers, the Knights' recruiting efforts culminated in a six-man class that was regarded by many publications as one of the nation's top 20 classes. Included in this first class was guard Dahntay Jones, who went on to earn Big East All-Rookie team honors as a freshman in 1998-99. Lanier also helped the Scarlet Knights' ink four recruits to national letters of intent during this past fall's signing period.
Lanier joined Kevin Bannon's staff at Rutgers in April of 1997. Inheriting a program that had won just 33 games over the previous three years, the Scarlet Knights posted a 14-15 record (6-12 Big East, 12th place) and advanced to the Big East Tournament semifinals in 1997-98. In 1998-99, Rutgers improved to 19-13 overall (9-9 Big East, 6th-tie) and advanced to the NIT second round. The 19 wins marked the most by a Rutgers team since the 1990-91 season (19-10).
Prior to joining the staff at Rutgers, Lanier spent five seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, St. Bonaventure (1992-93 to 1996-97). While at St. Bonaventure, Lanier assisted with all aspects of the program for the Bonnies. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant and restricted earnings coach at Niagara University (1990-91 to 1991-92). During his two seasons at Niagara, he was responsible for academic support, scouting and on-campus recruiting.
Lanier received his first head coaching experience in the summer of 1995, when he led a group of American collegians on a tour of Germany. He also coached summer All-Star teams in Italy (1996) and Holland (1998). During the last two summers, Lanier led teams of college stars to back-to-back tournament championships in Greece.
As far as being ready to lead Siena's program, Lanier seems up to the task, citing his recent experiences as the most critical in his preparation. "The difference between being ready and being prepared is that the guy who's prepared knows what he's going to do when he gets the job," Lanier said. "Over the last couple of years, I've gotten to the point where I know what I'm going to do."
Lanier graduated from St. Bonaventure in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. A four-year letterman with the Bonnies, he was a three-year starter and team captain during his senior season. Lanier, who scored 868 career points, was a 1987 Atlantic 10 Conference all-Freshman selection and the team's most improved player in 1988-89. A two-time scholar-athlete nominee, Lanier went on to earn a master's degree from Niagara in educational counseling in 1993.
Lanier and his wife, Dr. Dayo Lanier, reside in the Capital Region with their two children, son Emory (3) and daughter Kai (1).