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Coach Grey Giovanine announces retirement

Augustana’s winningest basketball coach leaves with ‘heartfelt gratitude.’ 

After 21 seasons as head coach of the Augustana men’s basketball program, one of the very best in NCAA Division III, Grey Giovanine announced his retirement today. 

Under Coach Giovanine, the Vikings posted a 433-150 (.743) record, won 10 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championships and six conference tournament titles, and made 10 trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament — including two appearances in the national championship game.

He was named national Coach of the Year by Basketball Times in 2015 and 2019 and by in 2017. 

Grey’s biggest impact on the program was the number of people that he impacted and how he effectively used the platform of basketball to teach critically important life lessons.

Mike Zapolski

“After much reflection, prayerful consideration and discussion with family, I have decided that it is time for me to conclude my coaching tenure at Augustana,” Giovanine said. “The decision comes with heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for all of the people associated with Augustana and our program during my 21 years of service to this very special place. 

“My thanks to the students, faculty, staff, administration, community, media and especially the young men I’ve been privileged to work with. I am proud of all we have accomplished together. 

“I remain in good health, and while I don’t expect coaching to be a part of what lies ahead, Kelly and I look forward to the next chapters to come,” Giovanine said.

For five seasons, from 2014-19, Giovanine’s Vikings went 131-26 and advanced at least as far as the national sweet 16 each year. During that time, Augustana became the first to capture five consecutive CCIW championships, and the first to be ranked in’s final top five for five straight years. The Vikings’ 17 NCAA Tournament wins over those five seasons were the most by any program at any level of competition. 

Led by some tremendous senior players, his 2015-16 team equaled the best record in program history, going 29-2 and reaching the national quarterfinals. Despite losing his top six scorers from that team, Giovanine led his 2016-17 squad to 24-9 record and Augustana’s second national title game appearance in three years. The Vikings were 25-6 national quarterfinalists in 2017-18 and went 26-4 and reached the round of 16 in 2018-19. 

A nine-time CCIW Coach of the Year, Giovanine has the most conference tournament championships in league history and the second-highest number of season titles in conference history.

Giovanine came to Augustana after six seasons as head coach at NCAA Division I Lamar. After going 10-15 in his first season in Rock Island, his Vikings never failed to win at least 16 games overall and posted 20 consecutive winning records in CCIW play — the longest such streak in league history.

Augustana Director of Athletics Mike Zapolski called Giovanine’s Augustana accomplishments “remarkable” and his teams’ achievements “impressive, especially when you consider the level of parity that exists today in small college sports. 

“Grey’s drive, enthusiasm and passion were ever-present, whether it was during a game, practice or in the recruiting process,” Zapolski said. “In the final analysis, Grey's biggest impact on the program was the number of people that he impacted and how he effectively used the platform of basketball to teach critically important life lessons.”

Zapolski indicated that a nationwide search is planned to find the successor for Coach Giovanine.

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