La Salle, Giannini agree to multi-year extension

La Salle, Giannini agree to multi-year extension
April 25, 2013, 3:00 pm
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La Salle University on Thursday afternoon announced a multi-year contract extension for head basketball coach John Giannini. Details of the agreement were not disclosed.

The extension follows a season in which the Explorers made their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 1992, their first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1955, and finished the year No. 24 in the USA Today coaches poll.

Just last week, Giannini was named the Big 5 coach of the year.

“This past season was an outstanding one for our men’s basketball team, reaching the Sweet 16 and ending the season with a national ranking,” director of athletic Dr. Tom Brennan said in a statement. “More importantly, Dr. John has built a program on and off the court that gives everyone associated with La Salle great pride."

“I am honored to coach at La Salle,” Giannini said. “I am deeply invested in our program and student-athletes. Our program is forming a pattern of consistent success on and off the court that we are eager to build on.”

Giannini inherited a program in bad shape when he took over in 2004, replacing the outgoing Billy Haan, who resigned amidst a rape scandal involving members of the basketball team.

The Explorers posted just two winning seasons (2006, 2009) in Giannini's first six years, going a combined 83-107, but the coach received a contract extension to stay with the program in 2010.

In the three seasons since, the Explorers are 60-31. In the last two years, they've posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1990-91.

Following a trip to the NIT in 2011-12, Giannini led La Salle to a 23-9 regular-season record in 2012-13, featuring back-to-back wins over No. 9 Butler and No. 19 VCU in late January. Those wins snuck the Explorers into their first NCAA tournament since 1992 and a First Four matchup with Boise State. As a 13-seed La Salle went on to beat Boise, 4-seed Kansas State and 12-seed Ole Miss, before finally falling to 9-seed Wichita State, which ultimately advanced to the Final Four.

The Explorers return large majority of their roster for the 2013-14 season, save for leading scorer Ramon Galloway and seldom-used reserve Garvin Hunt.