Coaches

Official Release | November 3, 2016

 

MARK DAIGNEAULT | Head Coach
Mark Daigneault (DAYG-nalt) enters his fourth season as head coach of the Oklahoma City Blue.

The Blue wrapped up a franchise record-setting season in 2016-17, tallying a franchise-record 34 wins, finishing as the regular-season Western Conference Champions and advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time under Daigneault.

In 2015-16, the Blue led the NBA G League in rebounding with 48.1 boards a game. Daigneault joined Billy Donovan’s Thunder coaching staff midseason on Feb. 17 in place of Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks, who was sidelined for six weeks due to hip surgery. Daigneault remained with the Thunder for the conclusion of the 2015-16 season and entirety of the Thunder’s postseason campaign to the Western Conference Finals.

In his first season at the helm of the Thunder’s NBA G League team, Daigneault led the Blue to a 28-22 record and an appearance in the NBADL Western Conference Semifinals.

Under his watch the past three seasons, the Blue has seen five players called up to NBA rosters (Semaj Christon, Josh Huestis, Dakari Johnson, Dwight Buycks and Reggie Williams) and five Thunder players assigned (Semaj Christon, Grant Jerrett, Josh Huestis, Mitch McGary and Cameron Payne).

Daigneault came to Oklahoma City after spending his previous four years working under Donovan at the University of Florida, where he most recently held the position of Assistant to the Head Coach. Throughout his four years at Florida, the Gators totaled a record of 120-30 (.800), won three SEC titles and advanced to the Elite Eight each year. In his final season with UF (2013-14), the Gators became the first SEC team to go 18-0 in conference play and went on to win the SEC Championship and advance to the Final Four.

Prior to his time at Florida, Daigneault spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Holy Cross. During Daigneault’s tenure, the Crusaders finished as runner-up of the Patriot League Championship in 2008-09.

A 2007 graduate of the University of Connecticut, Daigneault served as a student manager with the Huskies under Jim Calhoun from 2003-07. While at UCONN, the Huskies won the 2004 NCAA Championship and claimed three Big East titles, posting a combined record of 103-32 (.763).A native of Leominster, Mass., Daigneault holds a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Florida.

 Oklahoma City Blue DAVID AKINYOOYE | Assistant Coach
David Akinyooye begins his third season as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Blue. Akinyooye came to Oklahoma City in 2015 following a one year stint as a assistant coach in Lyon, France with Asvel Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket.Prior to his time in Lyon, Akinyooye served the San Antonio Spurs as a player development quality
assurance assistant during San Antonio’s 2013-14 NBA championship season. He began his coaching career in 2012-13 with the New York Knicks in the role of coaching workout associate.Following a collegiate career at Adelphi University in New York, Akinyooye played one season with the Springfield Armor of the NBA D-League. A native of Elmont, N.Y., Akinyooye received a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Adelphi in 2011.
Christian_1516Staff JARELL CHRISTIAN | Assistant Coach
Jarell Christian starts his fourth season as an assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Blue. Christian served as interim head coach from February 2016 through the end of the season, while Head Coach Mark Daigneault joined the Thunder staff.He joined Oklahoma City after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach for Randolph-Macon College in Virginia. While at Randolph-Macon, the Yellow Jackets posted records of 21-10 in 2012-13 and 20-7 in 2013-14, advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament in both seasons. Christian has also held assistant coaching roles at Tusculum College (Tenn.) and at his alma matter, Emory & Henry (Va.). A four-year member of the Emory & Henry basketball team, Christian graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management.
TAJ FINGER | Assistant Coach

Taj Finger is set to being his first season as an assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Blue. Finger served as a graduate assistant for the Georgia Tech men’s basketball program for the 2016-17 season, helping guide the Yellow Jackets to their first National Invitation Tournament championship game in 46 years. A member of the Stanford men’s basketball team from 2004-2008, he appeared in 126 games, earning three trips to the NCAA tournament, including an appearance in the Sweet 16. Finger was also selected to the Pac-10 All-Academic team three years in a row. The New York native graduated with a degree in Communication and Media Studies in 2008 and went on to play professional basketball overseas for five years in three countries.

GRANT GIBBS | Assistant Coach

Grant Gibbs is entering his first season as an assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Blue. Gibbs comes to the Blue after a three-year international playing career. A native of Iowa, he played in the Netherlands and Germany after graduating from Creighton with a degree in journalism. Gibbs began his collegiate career at Gonzaga then transferred to Creighton after two seasons with the Bulldogs. He played in 100 games and averaged 7.6 points and 4.9 assists as the Bluejays appeared in the NCAA tournament in each of his seasons with the team.