Although it’s been almost 20 years from the time when he left the Rowan University campus, Dr. John Giannini (whose wife is Donna Giannini) still has to a certain extent enthusiasts…
The coach at La Salle University has turn out to be a more family name thanks to his Explorers’ run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, but the Profs have a rooting concentration too since Giannini led them to their last Division III National Championship in 1996 after two previous Final Four appearances.
There’s a ton of people on this campus that are very big La Salle fans this week. John’s been out of here 17 years, but there’s a lot of staff and faculty members who have fond memories. It was especially gratifying for me, I know how much work goes into that.
We talk on a fairly regular basis, and I’m the godfather of his oldest daughter (Brianna) who turned 20 the night (La Salle) got the bid to the NCAAs. She was born when we were on our way to the Final Four in 1993. John did not go on the bus with the team because she was being born. He flew up the next day.
It’s sparked ample of stories of Giannini’s days at Rowan from those who knew him and were lucky enough to have worked next to him.
Juan Ranero said:
His office was right across from mine, so (we knew each other well). Even at Ro wan, at a Division III school, he had that aura about him. You knew he was an electrifying, high-motor guy. He had that persona, and you knew you wanted to be around anything he did.
Jay Accorsi said:
I got the chance to go out to lunch with G (Giannini) and (head football coach) KC (Keeler), and I just sat there and listened to their conversations.I was just the young coach absorbing Profs’ it all, what went into recruiting and all of it, them coming up with new ideas, new methods for doing all sorts of things. The joke was whenever I went I knew I could be paying for lunch. G was famous for asking people to go to lunch and then finding a way to get other people to pay for it. It was a running joke in the department.
What Giannini has accomplished in his occupation is no funny story, and more people than ever are learning about it thanks to this amazing tournament run. He posted a 168-38 record in seven seasons at Rowan, including a 110-12 record his last four seasons when the team made those three Final Fours.
Dan Gilmore said:
The people that know him it’s brought a lot of talk, excitement and interest,” “It’s also been very good for Rowan, they’ve mentioned it (on the TV broadcasts). When Rowan’s name is on ESPN, it’s good for us. I think any time you get the publicity John’s brought to La Salle … his name and Rowan being associated with it can only help us. I’d like to tell you the kids knew a little more about the history of the program, but hopefully it’s making them more aware. We’ve had other coaches go on and have great success (Keeler won a national championship at Delaware), and that kind of thing can only help us.
Cassidy noted that he’s watched the games both as a fan and a coach, noting strategies or formations he and Giannini talked about in the offseason as also cheering on the Explorers. However if La Salle wins two more games, he’ll be shifting much more to the fan area.
(The games are) certainly intense, and fun when the final score goes up on the board. The last two games I’ve taped and then watched parts over again. Once a coach, always a coach. (Current Profs associate head basketball coach) Dave Lafferty was with him for four years, and has been with me for the last 17. We’ve said that if they make (the Final Four), we’ll drive to Atlanta.
John Giannini is also a family man. He uses to take his family on Saturday afternoons, to Swedesboro. There, he, his Mary and two daughters have dinner to the Italian place close to his home along with a couple of longtime friends.
John knows Donna 49, since his days coaching at Rowan; Mrs. Giannini was born Donna Fuhr Giannini on March 31, 1963, she is the proud momma of their two gorgeous daughters Brianna (graduating in 2015 from Villanova university)and Jamie. Donna graduated from North Central College in 1985.
John Giannini said;
They know if we lost, all bets are off.I’m sitting in the office with my staff trying to figure out what went wrong [if we lose].