Less than two weeks after firing Mark Phelps Drake University has named its new basketball coach. Drake athletic director Sandy Hatfield Clubb introduced 50-year-old Giacoletti, a native of Peoria, Illinois, as the new coach. He has been a head coach at North Dakota State, Eastern Washington and Utah. He spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach at Gonzaga.
Giacoletti led Eastern Washington to the NCAA Tournament. He also led Utah to the sweet 16 but was later fired after three years with the Utes. “In the middle of your career, whether you’re a lawyer or a doctor or whatever you are, you get very few chances to learn again,” Giacoletti says. He says he had a unique experience in getting released at Utah, and says at the time it was devastating, but it made him a better coach as he got to learn a new system.
Giacoletti says he wanted to be a head coach again, but wanted the right opportunity. “It’s a place that I think has a real opportunity to grow the basketball program and that’s to take nothing away from the history of Drake basketball,” Giacoletti. He says Drake has the qualities that will allow him to grow the program and grow it in the right way.
Giacoletti says he wants his teams to be fundamentally sound as he told the team that the team that outrebounds its opponent wins 80-percent of the time. He says they want to be sound in all aspects of the game.
Giacoletti says his first priority is the current players on the roster and generating interest in the program. “We need to be able to go out and get people excited again in Drake basketball,” Giacoletti says. He says the university has made a commitment with a new practice facility.
He takes over a program that has played in the NCAA Tournament only one time since 1970.