Kurt Kanaskie is in his second season as an assistant coach in the Virginia Tech men’s basketball program. He performs widely varied duties with the Hokies and he serves as the right-hand man to head coach James Johnson on all matters of the program.
Kanaskie came to Virginia Tech after spending one season at Navy as associate head coach and eight seasons at Penn State, including two years as associate head coach. He was on the staff at Penn State with Johnson from 2003-2005. While at Penn State, Kanaskie helped the Nittany Lions to a spot in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, a 2009 NIT Championship and a berth in the 2007 NIT.
“Kurt Kanaskie brings a wealth of experience to our staff,” head coach James Johnson said. “Having been a head coach before, he has sat in the chair. He is an outstanding all-around coach. He’s a very good recruiter; he is very good on the floor and he will be responsible for all of our scouting reports. He has a very good relationship with our players. He has performed this job a this high level before and is a great component of our staff.”
Prior to Penn State, Kanaskie served as the head coach at Drake for seven seasons (1997-03). Before Drake, he was one of the most successful Division II head coaches in Pennsylvania, as he was the head coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for eight seasons. In the 1994-95 season, IUP grabbed its first national ranking in school history (No. 5), earned an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time ever and advanced to the Elite Eight. A year later, IUP earned a No. 1 national ranking and advanced to the national semifinals. Kanaskie was twice named PSAC Coach of the Year, earned NABC District Coach of the Year honors twice and was twice named the Basketball Times National Coach of the Year.
Before IUP, Kanaskie served as the head coach at Lock Haven University for three years (1986-88). His LHU team reached the NCAA Tournament a year later and earned the school’s first-ever national ranking. He was named PSAC Coach of the Year twice at LHU, giving him a total of four PSAC coaching awards.
The Mechanicsburg, Pa., native began his coaching career as an assistant coach at South Carolina for five seasons. Kanaskie was an All-State basketball player at Cumberland Valley High School and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from La Salle University in 1980 and a Master of Business Administration from South Carolina in 1985. While at La Salle, he earned All-Big Five and All-East Coast Conference honors, was an academic All-American, and left as the school’s ninth all-time leading scorer. The NBA’s Golden State Warriors drafted him.
Kanaski has three children, a daughter, Kristin Kanaskie Grotewold, and sons Kevin Kanaskie and Kyle Kanaskie.