By Joe Henricksen
The Loyola basketball program continues to churn out news.
Riding the heels of five commitments in the past month, Loyola added a high-profile name and coach to its staff. Rick Malnati, the highly-successful coach at New Trier, officially joined coach Porter Moser's Loyola University basketball staff today. Malnati will serve various roles within the program as the assistant to the head coach.
"I think this is the right thing at the right time for me," says Malnati, who resigned as coach at New Trier following the 2007-2008 season. "It's a neat opportunity for me and I'm excited."
While Rodell Davis, Armon Gates and Jason Gardner are Moser's three assistant coaches, Malnati will play a key role on the Ramblers staff.
"My job is going to assist those assistants and try to make their lives easier," says Malnati. "I enjoy the relationships with kids, so that is a part I'm looking forward to. I will help in putting scouting reports together and support Porter in any way I can."
Malnati was always considered one of the elite high school coaches in the state of Illinois. He was named the City/Suburban Hoops Report Coach of the Year in 2002 and led the Trevians to the state quarterfinals in 2000 and a Class AA fourth-place finish in 2002. Malnati's Trevians stunned a Proviso East team that featured Dee Brown and Shannon Brown in the supersectional to highlight that 2002 season. New Trier also won a sectional title in 2005.
"This was a position I really wanted to have in our program," said Moser of the assistant to the head coach position. "And Rick was the guy I wanted to fill that role. I think he can be very valuable and prove to be an underrated asset for us."
Malnati had been looking to get back into coaching but only if it was the right fit. After spending time with Moser, the staff and seeing all that Loyola had to offer, the job piqued the interest of Malnati. And quickly, a place Malnati admits he never gave much thought to before became very intriguing.
"I met with Porter, we talked a lot, I liked the staff and saw all that was going on there with the improvements to the gym, facilities and university," says Malnati of his research into the job. "Everything Porter was saying made sense. And I think Porter saw through the no [college] experience and felt I could help the program."
Plus, Malnati loves the opportunity to help build a program and add to his basketball pedigree.
"This is a great opportunity to be a part of something different, to be involved in college basketball and to learn a lot of basketball along the way," Malnati pointed out. "It's a building situation, and I love when people doubt what you are capable of. Changing a culture is a huge challenge, but it's going to be fun."
For more on Loyola basketball go to the previous Hoops Report blog.