Ray Giacoletti was named Drake men’s basketball head coach on Thursday after a two-week national search to replace former head coach Mark Phelps.
On the court, he pledged to win the rebound war and score easy baskets. Off the court, he pledged to recruit Iowa players and immerse Drake student-athletes in the Des Moines area.
Giacoletti comes to Drake from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., where he compiled a 163–41 record over six seasons as assistant coach under head coach Mark Few. The Gonzaga Bulldogs boasted six consecutive NCAA trips under Giacoletti.
Drake Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb said Giacoletti was the premier candidate, thanks to his energy and diverse background.
“We searched the entire nation to find somebody with the experience, the passion and the desire to share in this vision and be the person to move us to the next era in Drake men’s basketball,” Hatfield Clubb said.
Giacoletti came to Gonzaga with 10 years of head coaching experience. In his first season as head coach at Utah, most notably, Giacoletti compiled a 29-6 ledger en route to a Mountain West Conference Championship and an NCAA Sweet 16 berth.
Giacoletti said he hopes the approach he learned at Gonzaga leads to success at Drake. He stressed that the Bulldogs must strive to create and achieve Drake-unique goals, though.
“I have been at one of the most successful programs in the country and watching how they were able to put it together, I can hopefully bring that to Drake and to be the best Drake can be,” Giacoletti said. “Not try to be Gonzaga, not try to be somebody else, but let’s be the best Drake can be.”