Magnani joins MP coaching staff
Alan Magnani is back on the bench in Mt. Pleasant.
Magnani, the former Iowa Wesleyan College men’s basketball head coach, has joined the Mt. Pleasant High School boys’ basketball coaching staff as a varsity assistant to head coach Paul Rundquist.
“He’s a great asset to the program,” Rundquist said. “He’s absolutely someone who is very knowledgeable and brings a lot of good ideas.”
In 15 years at the helm of the IWC team, Magnani was the winningest coach in the program’s history, with a career record of 244-220 at the college.
Under Magnani, the Tigers were Midwest Collegiate Conference Tournament champions in 2004, 2006 and 2009. They qualified for the NAIA Division 2 National Tournament in those three seasons and again last year, where they advanced as far as the Sweet 16.
Magnani was dismissed from his position early in the 2011-12 season when he refused to submit a written statement to the then-college president, Jay Simmons, confirming that he supported the Board of Trustees’ decision to make a move from the NAIA to the NCAA Division III.
After his dismissal, Magnani joined the staff of TNT 5 Basketball, an organization that works on skill development with individual players, groups of athletes and full teams.
He also serves as a substitute teacher.
“(Being an assistant coach) is a way to get back into being on the court,” Magnani said. “It’s great to be able to share with others and help improve their basketball skills.”
Magnani has been helping the Mt. Pleasant basketball team behind the scenes the last few years, especially at tournament time.
“I’ve done video breakdown and scouting, so that the coaches can focus on the (Mt. Pleasant) kids,” Magnani said. “This is another way for me to help, so when Paul (Rundquist) asked me, I jumped at it.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been a part of a high school program in that way,” he added. “There’s a big difference between the college game and the high school game, in physicality and maturity. But it’s still basketball, it’s still teaching, and I really enjoy being back on the court.”
Another Magnani back on the court this year is Trey Magnani, a senior guard for the Panthers and Alan Magnani’s son.
“I’ve always stayed away from coaching our kids at the youth level, since I coach for a living,” Magnani said. “This is the first time in an organized situation I’ve had the opportunity to coach one of our kids, and I’m really enjoying it — I hope it can continue to be a positive experience, especially for Trey.”
Rundquist believes having Magnani on the staff will be a positive experience for not only his son, but all the players on the team.
“The kids are very fortunate, and I’m very fortunate,” Rundquist said. “We are learning a lot from each other.”
The Mt. Pleasant boys’ basketball season begins tomorrow (Tuesday). The Panthers are home against Cedar Rapids Xavier, starting with the JV game at 6 p.m.