Ray Giacoletti becomes the 13th head men's basketball coach at the University of Utah.
March 31, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah has hired Ray Giacoletti as its new head men's basketball coach, Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill announced today. Giacoletti, the head coach at Eastern Washington University for the past four years, has agreed to a seven-year contract worth $500,000 per year for base salary, radio and TV compensation and camps. The package represents the standard five-year contract, plus two additional years that cover the remainder of Utah's NCAA probation period.
"From the start of this process, Ray was someone I was excited about," said Hill. "I thought he'd be an excellent fit for the University of Utah. "He brings enthusiasm, an excellent record, and a commitment to the student-athletes that is important to us at the University of Utah. We have a rich basketball tradition here at the University of Utah, and I know Ray will add to that."
Named the 2003-04 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year, Giacoletti (pronounced jack-oh-LET-ee) led Eastern Washington to its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth this past season. The Eagles, finishing 17-13 overall and 11-3 in conference play, won 14 of their last 18 games-including 11 straight victories-to capture the Big Sky regular season and tournament titles.
Eastern Washington fell to Final Four participant Oklahoma State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, playing the Cowboys to a 36-36 tie at halftime. The Eagles' nonconference schedule was the 12th-toughest in the nation according to the Sagarin Ratings, and included games against Oklahoma, Washington, Iowa and San Diego State on the road, and Gonzaga on a neutral court.
In his each of Giacoletti's first three years, the Eagles placed second in the Big Sky during the regular season and advanced to the tournament championship game. In 2002-03, Giacoletti led EWU to the to the NIT for the program's first postseason bid since 1947. He coached the Eagles to the biggest win in school history on Nov. 15, 2001 when they knocked off No. 10 Saint Joseph's 68-67.
Giacoletti, 41, went 69-50 in four seasons at Eastern Washington. His .707 winning percentage (41-17) in Big Sky Conference games ranks first among league schools. Giacoletti is 117-83 in seven years as a head coach. Before taking over at Eastern Washington, he was at North Dakota State for three years (1997-2000), directing the NCAA Division II program to a 48-33 record.
"We're very excited to be coming to the University of Utah," said Giacoletti. "This is a great opportunity, and I'm looking forward to getting started. Utah basketball has a great history. I have followed the success of the program over the years, and I'm excited now to be a part of this great program."
Before becoming a head coach, Giacoletti was an assistant for four years at both Illinois State (1989-93) and Washington (1993-97). Washington was 16-12 and 17-10 with NIT appearances in Giacoletti's final two years. He was pivotal in assembling the school's 1994 recruiting class that was rated among the top 20 in the nation. At Illinois State, he helped lead the Redbirds to the 1990 NCAA Tournament and three Missouri Valley Conference championships.
Giacoletti graduated from Minot State University in North Dakota with a degree in physical education in 1985. He was a four-year letterman, started three seasons and served as team captain twice. Giacoletti was a student assistant coach at Minot State in 1984-85 while he finished his degree. He was a graduate assistant coach at Western Illinois (1985-86) and a full-time assistant at Oral Roberts (1986-87) before becoming an assistant coach/player personnel director for two seasons (1987-89) with the Fresno Flames of the World Basketball League.
A native of Peoria, Ill., Giacoletti was born on April 14, 1962. He married the former Kim Lankford in 1994.
Giacoletti becomes the 13th head coach in the history of Utah men's basketball, a program that ranks 10th in the NCAA with a .660 (1,541-793) winning percentage in 96 seasons. Utah has also made 25 NCAA Tournament appearances in its history, which is tied for 11th all-time, and has recorded 31 20-win seasons.
Giacoletti takes over a Utah team that went 24-9, advanced to the NCAA Tournament, and captured the Mountain West Conference Tournament title after finishing third during the regular season. Eight of the 11 Utes recruited as scholarship players return from last season, including three starters.
The Giacoletti File
PERSONAL Birth Date: April 14, 1962 Hometown: Peoria, Ill. High School: East College Education: Minot State University, Physical Education, 1985 Wife: Kim
PLAYING EXPERIENCE 1980-84 Minot State University
COACHING CAREER 2000-04 Eastern Washington (Head Coach) 1997-00 North Dakota State (Head Coach) 1993-97 Washington (Assistant) 1989-93 Illinois State (Assistant) 1987-89 Fresno Flames (Assistant/Player Personnel Dir.) 1986-87 Oral Roberts (Assistant) 1885-86 Western Illinois (Graduate Assistant) 1984-85 Minot State (Student Assistant)
COACHING RECORD Year School Overall Conf. Finish League 2003-04 Eastern Washington 17-13 11-3 1st Big Sky 2002-03 Eastern Washington 18-13 9-5 2nd Big Sky 2001-02 Eastern Washington 17-13 10-4 2nd Big Sky 2000-01 Eastern Washington 17-11 11-5 2nd Big Sky 1999-00 North Dakota State 16-11 9-9 6th North Central 1998-99 North Dakota State 14-13 8-10 5th-T North Central 1997-98 North Dakota State 18-9 9-9 5th-T North Central