North Central College - Naperville, IL

John Giannini

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2013

John Giannini ’84, Ph.D. , a coach, author, educator and motivator, he has built a powerhouse Division I basketball program while cultivating a reputation for his basketball acumen. Head basketball coach of the La Salle University Explorers since 2004, John is La Salle’s all-time winningest coach in the Atlantic 10 conference and, in 2013, took his team to the Sweet 16, its deepest run into the NCAA tournament since 1955.

The spotlight on his successes during the college basketball tournament allowed him to share the influence of North Central College on his career, in particular a Theories of Motivation class he took as a psychology major. He also credits his coach, Athletic Hall of Fame recipient Bill Warden ’54, with inspiring his coaching career.

He began his head coaching career in 1989 at Rowan College in Glassboro, NJ. Within three years, John coached the team to the NCAA Division III Final Four and to a national championship in 1996. He left Rowan with the best winning percentage in the nation (.814) among all active NCAA coaches and was inducted into the Rowan Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. John next assumed a Division I head coaching position with the University of Maine, where he again achieved coaching success. The Maine Black Bears soon became regular conference contenders in the Atlantic East. In his eight seasons with Maine, John became the winningest coach in the program’s history and led the Black Bears to the only two 20-win seasons in school history.

Also an author, John wrote the 2008 book, “Court Sense: Winning Basketball’s Mental Game,” and has published articles for academic research journals and practical coaching publications. He also taught courses at Maine and Rowan.

In addition to his North Central degree in psychology, he holds an M. S. in physical education from the University of North Texas and a Ph.D. in kinesiology with a specialization in sports psychology from the University of Illinois. John is an honorary trustee at North Central College.

He and his wife Donna Fuhr ’85 and their two daughters live in Mullica Hill, NJ.

See video