John Giannini denies job offer rumors

John Giannini denies job offer rumors

March 27, 2013, 6:30 pm

LOS ANGELES – John Giannini laughed off the question. If it was flattering, he didn’t let on.

After La Salle practiced at the Staples Center on Wednesday afternoon, the Explorers head coach talked to the media about all sorts of things – his players, the support the team has gotten back in Philly, the Sweet 16 matchup with Wichita State on Thursday, and rumors that he has become a hot candidate for bigger schools with coaching vacancies.

“It’s not a real thing,” Giannini insisted when asked about his situation by a reporter from a national outlet. “No one has called me. No one is talking to me. You’re the only one who seems to think I’m a real candidate for anyone. If a school isn’t talking to you, it doesn’t matter.”

It’s not surprising that the question came up. Giannini and his players have revived La Salle’s program (see story). The Explorers reached their first NCAA tournament in 21 years and their first Sweet 16 since 1955. They won more NCAA tournament games in the last week (three) than they had in the previous 57 years combined (two). And along with VCU, La Salle is just the second school in NCAA history to go from a First Four play-in game to the Sweet 16. Those kinds of achievements tend to make other schools notice the coach.

After nine seasons at La Salle, Giannini has etched his name into several of the school’s coaching records. With 65 Atlantic 10 victories, he has more A-10 conference wins than any other coach in school history. Giannini just passed Paul Westhead to move into third place on the school’s all-time coaching wins list with 143. Only Ken Loeffler (145) and La Salle legend Speedy Morris (238) have more.

Giannini also tied a personal record this year. The Explorers are 24-9. That matches his previous best for most victories in a season at a Division I school. (In 1999-00, he led Maine to a 24-7 campaign.)

Considering all the attention La Salle is getting these days, it makes sense that people would speculate that other schools might want to poach Giannini.

“That’s part of the business,” La Salle athletic director Tom Brennan said. “You always have to be aware of the fact that, when someone is very successful, there will be other people who might think he can get it done for them. We’re hoping John stays. After the season is over, we’ll sit down and talk about contractual matters and all that.”

Brennan said he hopes Giannini will stay because of the commitment the school made to the coach, along with the fact that almost all of the Explorers will be back next season. Among the key players, only senior Ramon Galloway won’t return for La Salle.

“During the season, you have so much invested in these kids,” Giannini said. “You have so much invested in your program. Coaches who have been at a school as long as I have now, you care about a lot of the people there. You appreciate the school and what they’ve done for you and your family. La Salle has done great things for me and my family, and we’re in the Sweet 16. What you just mentioned would be the furthest thing from my mind. It’s also not a real thing. There’s a lot of speculation and the internet feeds coaching carousel thing, but there’s nothing real going on.”