John Giannini

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John Giannini
John Giannini in 2016.jpg
Giannini during the 2016 Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team La Salle
Conference Atlantic 10
Record 198–205 (.491)
Biographical details
Born (1962-10-31) October 31, 1962 (age 54)
Chicago, Illinois
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1987–1989 Illinois (asst.)
1989–1996 Rowan
1996–2004 Maine
2004–present La Salle
Head coaching record
Overall 491-354 (.581)
Accomplishments and honors
NCAA Division III National Championship (1996)

John Manfredo Giannini (born October 31, 1962) is an American college basketball coach and the current head coach of the La Salle University men's basketball team.

Early life[edit]

The son of Italian immigrants, Giannini grew up in Elmwood Park, a suburb of Chicago, and has 3 younger brothers. He attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park, and received a bachelor's degree in psychology from North Central College in Naperville. Giannini also holds a master's degree in physical education with a specialization in sports psychology from North Texas University, as well as a doctorate in kinesiology with a specialization in sports psychology from the University of Illinois.[1][2][3]

Coaching career[edit]

University of Illinois[edit]

From 1987 through 1989, Giannini served as a graduate assistant on coach Lou Henson's staff at the University of Illinois. In Giannini's final season on Henson's staff, the Fighting Illini, led by Kendall Gill, Kenny Battle, Stephen Bardo, Tyler Cottingham, Lowell Hamilton and Marcus Liberty, made the Final Four.[2]

Rowan University[edit]

Giannini's first head coaching job came at Rowan University, a Division III school, when he was hired as the men's coach in 1989. His 1992-93 team, led by Terrence Stewart, went to the Final Four. Two years later, Giannini's team was the favorite to win the national championship, but again lost in the final four. The following season, Giannini gambled in accepting two Division 1 transfers, a Division 2 transfer and added them to a team centered around Stewart. After a slow start to the season, Rowan caught fire and defeated Hope College to win the 1996 national championship.[4]

University of Maine[edit]

Following Rowan's championship season, Giannini accepted the head coaching position at the University of Maine, a position he held for eight years. His Maine teams made five trips to the America East Conference semi-finals or better, and made appearances in the conference championship game two of Giannini's last three seasons. Giannini's two 20-win seasons are the only two on record in program history, and his .530 winning percentage is the highest in school history.[5][6]

La Salle University[edit]

On August 23, 2004, Giannini was hired as the eighteenth head coach of the La Salle men's basketball team. He succeeded Billy Hahn, who was forced to resign that July, following a rape scandal. The university had originally sought to hire Penn head coach and La Salle alumnus Fran Dunphy, but settled on Giannini after Dunphy turned the school down.[6]

The 2005-2006 season, Giannini's second at La Salle, set records for most Atlantic 10 wins in a season (ten), most Atlantic 10 road wins in a single season (four) and was the program's first winning season since the 1992-93 season, when the school competed in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now known as the Horizon League). Giannini was named a Jim Phelan Award candidate for National Coach of the Year.[1] However, the 2005-2006 season would be one of only two seasons in which La Salle finished above .500 in Giannini's first seven seasons leading the program. Though Giannini recruited heavily in the Philadelphia area, his teams were plagued by poor chemistry and missed opportunities, and La Salle became an afterthought in the Big 5.[7][8]

Postseason breakthroughs[edit]

The 2011-2012 Explorers won 21 games, the program's highest win total since 1992, and received an invitation to the 2012 NIT, the program's first postseason tournament appearance since 1992. La Salle lost its first round game at home to eventual tournament runner-up Minnesota.[1]

The following season, La Salle again won 21 regular season games, including consecutive victories over ninth-ranked Butler at home, and nineteenth-ranked VCU on the road. The Explorers received their first invitation to the NCAA Tournament since 1992, when they received an automatic bid as Atlantic Ten conference tournament champions. The Explorers received an at-large bid as a thirteen seed. In the opening round, La Salle defeated fellow thirteen seed Boise State, before defeating fourth-seeded Kansas State in the second round. After defeating twelfth-seeded Old Miss in the third round, La Salle lost to Witchita State in the Sweet Sixteen. La Salle's appearance in the Sweet Sixteen made it only the sixth program seeded thirteenth or lower to advance that far, and its three tournament wins were the program's first since 1990. It was also the program's deepest tournament run since 1955, when the Tom Gola-led Explorer's lost in the national championship game.[7] The team's 24 overall victories were the seventh-most in school history, and its 11 victories in the Atlantic Ten were the most ever. The Explorers also finished ranked 24th in the nation in the final USA Today Coaches Poll of the season.[9]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Rowan (New Jersey Athletic Conference – Division III) (1989–1996)
1989–90 Rowan 17–11
1990–91 Rowan 20–8 NCAA Division III Second Round
1991–92 Rowan 21–7
1992–93 Rowan 29–2 NCAA Division III Final Four
1993–94 Rowan 26–2 NCAA Division III Sectional Semifinals
1994–95 Rowan 27–4 NCAA Division III Final Four
1995–96 Rowan 28–4 NCAA Division III National Champions
Rowan: 168–38 (.816)
Maine (America East Conference) (1996–2004)
1996–97 Maine 11–20 6–12 T–7th
1997–98 Maine 7–20 4–14 T–9th
1998–99 Maine 19–9 13–5 4th
1999–00 Maine 24–7 15–3 2nd
2000–01 Maine 18–11 10–8 4th
2001–02 Maine 12–18 7–9 5th
2002–03 Maine 14–16 8–8 T–5th
2003–04 Maine 20–10 12–6 4th
Maine: 125–111 (.530) 75–65 (.536)
La Salle (Atlantic 10 Conference) (2004–present)
2004–05 La Salle 10–19 5–11 6th (West)
2005–06 La Salle 18–10 10–6 T–3rd
2006–07 La Salle 10–20 3–13 14th
2007–08 La Salle 15–17 8–8 T–7th
2008–09 La Salle 18–13 9–7 T–5th
2009–10 La Salle 12–18 4–12 13th
2010–11 La Salle 15–18 6–10 10th
2011–12 La Salle 21–13 9–7 6th NIT First Round
2012–13 La Salle 24–10 11–5 T–3rd NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2013–14 La Salle 15–16 7–9 8th
2014–15 La Salle 17–16 8–10 9th
2015–16 La Salle 9–22 4–14 14th
2016–17 La Salle 15–15 9–9 T–7th
La Salle: 198–205 (.491) 92–120 (.434)
Total: 491–354 (.581)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Personal life[edit]

Giannini and his wife Donna have two daughters.[5][10]


  1. ^ a b c "Men's Basketball Coaching Staff: Dr. John Giannini". Team Profiles. La Salle University. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Haugh, David (March 25, 2013). "La Salle coach Giannini enjoying the moment". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ Giannini, John Manfredo (1993). A theoretical investigation of motivational patterns in athletes (Ph.D.). University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. 
  4. ^ Prunty, Brandon (March 27, 2013). "La Salle coach John Giannini left a mark on Rowan that has not faded with time". The Cranford Chronicle. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "La Salle Names John Giannini Head Men's Basketball Coach". Men's Basketball News. The Atlantic 10 Conference. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Neff, Andrew (August 23, 2004). "Reports: La Salle tabs Giannini; Philadelphia school will announce hiring today". The Bangor Daily News. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Wieberg, Steve (March 25, 2013). "Proud La Salle announces return with run to Sweet 16". USA Today. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  8. ^ Jensen, Mike (March 30, 2013). "La Salle and John Giannini are a perfect fit". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  9. ^ "La Salle Finishes Season Ranked #24 In Final USA Today/Coaches Poll". La Salle University Athletic Department: Men's Basketball. La Salle University. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  10. ^ Jensen, Mike (February 18, 2013). "La Salle coach John Giannini enjoying the ride". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 

External links[edit]