Dusty May grew up playing high school basketball in the shadow of Bloomington at nearby Eastern Greene High School.
He knew he wanted to be a coach, and he didn’t have to look very far to find a good one to learn from.
But May needed a break to garner one of IU’s highly sought after manager positions in 1996. As it turned out, mowing team doctor Larry Rink’s lawn would be the first of many breaks for May. That connection was enough to get him into the IU program as a team manager after playing Division II basketball for a year.
Now May is the head coach of a top-25 Division I program. His Florida Atlantic team is No. 24 in this week’s AP top-25, the first time ever the program has been ranked nationally.
May spoke last week about the things he still draws on from Bob Knight and his time as an IU basketball manager.
“His (Knight’s) preparation, ability to think ahead, problem-solving ability and always thinking ahead about solutions before things happen. You’re on your toes 24/7 (as a manager under Knight),” May said on the All Ball with Doug Gottlieb podcast.
“His ability to teach and take complex basketball concepts and make them really simple. Now that I’m a head coach I think back to so many things that I learned that I didn’t even know that I was learning at the time.”
In his first season at Florida Atlantic in 2018-19, May led the Owls to their first winning season since 2011. They’ve had winning campaigns each year since, and now May has FAU at 16-1, and on a 15-game winning streak with wins over Florida and four other KenPom top-100 teams.
Florida Atlantic currently sits atop the Conference USA standings, two games ahead of North Texas. They are seeking the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002.
May played high school basketball for Mark Barnhizer, whose son Brooks now plays for Northwestern.
He was a manager at IU under Knight from 1996 to 2000, at the same time as two other managers (Joe Pasternack and Mike Schrage) who also became Division I coaches.
May returned to Indiana in an administrative role during Mike Davis’ tenure for three seasons before taking his first step as an assistant coach with Eastern Michigan in 2005. He also had a stop at Murray State, and then reunited with Davis at UAB, before following former Davis IU assistant Kerry Rupp to Louisiana Tech.
Prior to coming to FAU, May spent the previous seven seasons on Mike White’s coaching staffs, first at Louisiana Tech, where he succeeded Rupp, and then with the University of Florida.
May’s assistant coach Todd Abernethy is the son of 1970s IU star Tom Abernethy.
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