Kermit Davis not only was looking for a solid teacher and recruiter as his associate coach when he was hired at Middle Tennessee, but he also was looking for a person who shared his philosophy, as well as loyalty.
A rising star on the college basketball scene, Donnie Tyndall fit the bill as the complete package and was hired as Middle Tennessee's associate coach just days after Davis was hired as the Blue Raiders' head coach in April, 2002.
During their time together in Murfreesboro, Davis and Tyndall have combined their talents to produce three consecutive winning seasons and restore pride in the Blue Raider program. As recruiting coordinator at Middle Tennessee, Tyndall has been instrumental in landing two signing classes ranked in the Top 25 nationally. Hoop Scoop ranked the 2003 class No. 23, while the 2004 class was rated No. 11 nationally. Each class was regarded as the No. 1 class in the Sun Belt by the basketball publication.
Tyndall's day-to-day responsibilities revolve around recruiting; however, he also plays an instrumental role in practice and game preparation, as well as implementing workout schedules. Tyndall is the chief aide responsible for scouting reports and practice organization. His knowledge of the game and vigorous work ethic on the practice court and in games also has helped key Middle Tennessee's success during the previous two campaigns.
Then again, Davis knew what he was getting when he hired the driven assistant.
Tyndall and Davis developed a strong bond while both were on John Brady's staff at LSU, and it was that bond that prompted Tyndall to leave his post at the University of Idaho to accept a similar position at Middle Tennessee.
"Donnie is a very loyal friend who has one of the finest work ethics in college basketball," Davis said. "I first witnessed Donnie's head coaching talents when he took St. Catharine College to its only national tournament appearance in a one-year turnaround. He was with our staff at LSU for four years and has complete understanding of our style of play and recruiting. Donnie was part of the growth of LSU basketball from last place to the 2000 SEC title and Sweet 16 run."
Tyndall's reputation as an outstanding recruiter and hard worker has put him among the country's elite assistant coaches at a young age. At Idaho, he served as the associate head coach under Leonard Perry. While a member of the Vandals staff, Tyndall served as the team's recruiting coordinator, landing a class ranked as high as 16th nationally in 2001. He was also scouting director and was responsible for preparing the team for each opponent. Tyndall also directed the team's academics, helping it earn an average GPA of 2.6, the highest for a Vandals squad since 1990.
Prior to taking the Idaho job, Tyndall worked as an assistant at LSU. While part of the Tiger staff, Tyndall helped guide the team to an SEC title in 2000. The 2000 team went on to post a 28-6 mark, the second-best in school history. The Tigers ended the 2000 campaign in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and 10th in the final poll of the year.
Tyndall's recruiting expertise was on display again at LSU. While with the Tigers, he helped recruit three classes that were ranked in the Top 20 nationally. The 1998 class was listed as high as third, and the 2001 recruits were ranked eighth. Among his recruits at LSU, three went on to play in the NBA and five received All-SEC honors. Five of his Tigers players also went on to garner Academic All-SEC awards.
Tyndall also continued to show his commitment to academics at LSU. As the program's academic coordinator, he helped improve the team's GPA from 1.7 in 1996 to 2.65 in 2001.
Prior to joining the Tiger staff, Tyndall served as the head basketball coach at St. Catharine College in Springfield, Ky. During his one-year stint at St. Catharine, Tyndall led the 1996-97 team to the National Junior College Athletic Association National Tournament for the first time in school history. At year's end, the Patriots were ranked 15th in the final NJCAA poll.
The team's 30-5 record was the best in school history, and the squad's 106.1 points per game led the nation. Tyndall's emphasis on academics was evident once again, as his team's GPA improved from 1.81 to 2.64 in one season and all six sophomores graduated with associate degrees.
Tyndall was named the Kentucky-Tennessee Junior College Coach of the Year for his efforts at St. Catharine, and he went on to pick up the Region VII Coach of the Year award. St. Catharine College recognized his accomplishments with the Faculty-Staff Achievement Award.
Before becoming the head coach at St. Catharine, Tyndall served as an assistant at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa, for two seasons. Aside from coaching and recruiting duties, Tyndall also was charged with organizing and supervising the team's strength and conditioning program.
Tyndall's collegiate playing career began at Iowa Central Community College, where he played for one season before transferring to Morehead State University. He was named "Who's Who" in National Junior College in his one season at Iowa Central. Tyndall earned three letters with the Eagles and also won a Senior Achievement Award while at Morehead State. He also played with the Athletes in Action team after completing his collegiate eligibility. Tyndall received his master's degree from LSU.
Tyndall, 35, and his wife, Christi, have two children, Taylor Elise, 6, and Grace Elizabeth, 3.