John Giannini

John Manfredo Giannini (born October 31, 1962) is an American college basketball coach. He served as the head men's basketball coach at Rowan University from 1989 to 1996, the University of Maine from 1996 to 2004, and La Salle University from 2004 to 2018. Giannini led Rowan to an NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament championship in 1996.

John Giannini
Biographical details
Born (1962-10-31) October 31, 1962
Chicago, Illinois
Alma materNorth Central (B.S., 1984)
North Texas (M.S., 1986)
Illinois (Ph.D., 1992)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1987–1989Illinois (assistant)
2004–2018La Salle
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
NCAA Division III (1996)

Early life

The son of Italian immigrants, Giannini grew up in Elmwood Park, a suburb of Chicago, and has three 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 at Urbana–Champaign.[1][2][3]

Coaching career


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]


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]


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

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 2005–06 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 2005–06 season was 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]

On March 23, 2018, Giannini and La Salle mutually agreed to part ways after 14 seasons.[9]

Postseason breakthroughs

The 2011–12 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. 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 Ole 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.[10]

Personal life

Giannini and his wife Donna have two daughters.[5][11]

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Glassboro State / Rowan Profs (New Jersey Athletic Conference) (1989–1996)
1989–90 Glassboro State 17–1111–74th
1990–91 Glassboro State 20–813–53rdNCAA Division III Second Round
1991–92 Glassboro State 21–713–42nd
1992–93 Rowan 29–217–11stNCAA Division III Final Four
1993–94 Rowan 26–217–11stNCAA Division III Sectional Semifinal
1994–95 Rowan 27–415–31stNCAA Division III Final Four
1995–96 Rowan 28–416–2T–1stNCAA Division III Champion
Rowan: 168–38 (.816)102–23
Maine Black Bears (America East Conference) (1996–2004)
1996–97 Maine 11–206–12T–7th
1997–98 Maine 7–204–14T–9th
1998–99 Maine 19–913–54th
1999–00 Maine 24–715–32nd
2000–01 Maine 18–1110–84th
2001–02 Maine 12–187–95th
2002–03 Maine 14–168–8T–5th
2003–04 Maine 20–1012–64th
Maine: 125–111 (.530)75–65 (.536)
La Salle Explorers (Atlantic 10 Conference) (2004–2018)
2004–05 La Salle 10–195–116th (West)
2005–06 La Salle 18–1010–6T–3rd
2006–07 La Salle 10–203–1314th
2007–08 La Salle 15–178–8T–7th
2008–09 La Salle 18–139–7T–5th
2009–10 La Salle 12–184–1213th
2010–11 La Salle 15–186–1010th
2011–12 La Salle 21–139–76thNIT First Round
2012–13 La Salle 24–1011–5T–3rdNCAA Division I Sweet 16
2013–14 La Salle 15–167–98th
2014–15 La Salle 17–168–109th
2015–16 La Salle 9–224–1414th
2016–17 La Salle 15–159–9T–7th
2017–18 La Salle 13–197–11T–10th
La Salle: 212–226 (.484)100–132 (.431)
Total:508–375 (.575)

      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


  1. "Men's Basketball Coaching Staff: Dr. John Giannini". Team Profiles. La Salle University. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  2. 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. "La Salle Names John Giannini Head Men's Basketball Coach". Men's Basketball News. The Atlantic 10 Conference. Archived from the original on March 28, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  6. 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. Wieberg, Steve (March 25, 2013). "Proud La Salle announces return with run to Sweet 16". USA Today. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. 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 splits with coach John Giannini after 14 years". Associated Press. March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  10. "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.
  11. Jensen, Mike (February 18, 2013). "La Salle coach John Giannini enjoying the ride". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
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