John Giannini, Ph.D., who for the past year has served as founding director of Rowan University’s Center for Sports Communication & Social Impact, has been named interim athletic director. Giannini succeeds Dan Gilmore, who is retiring after 43 years at the University.
Giannini, a respected educator and former basketball coach at Rowan (1989-1996), LaSalle University (2004-2018), and the University of Maine (1996-2003), leads an NCAA Division III athletics program that includes seven men’s sports and nine women’s sports. He replaces Gilmore, who served as the men’s soccer coach from 1976-2013 and athletic director for the past nine years.
“Dr. Giannini brings to the AD position an impressive record on the court and in the classroom, guided by an unwavering commitment to helping students and student-athletes thrive in all areas of their lives,” said Ali Houshmand, president of Rowan University. “John’s passion and energy are contagious attributes that will strengthen our program and positively impact all of our current and future students, as well as Rowan community members.”
Following his coaching career at LaSalle, Giannini returned to Rowan as its founding director of the Center for Sports Communication & Social Impact in the College of Communication & Creative Arts. In addition to leading the new Center, he taught in the Sports Communication & Media program and mentored students seeking careers in the field.
As Rowan’s men’s basketball coach, Giannini’s record was 168-38, which included the 1996 NCAA Division III national championship. That year, he was named the Division III Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. In all, his squads made three final four appearances. While at the University of Maine, he had two 20-win seasons, and remains the Black Bears’ winningest coach. During almost three decades in coaching, his fiercely competitive teams were 508-375, a nearly 60 percent winning percentage.
“As head of our new Center, John has earned the respect of his peers and devoted himself to the study of sport,” Houshmand said, calling Giannini “a thoughtful scholar and motivator.”
“I am happy to be back with Rowan Athletics, where I have so many great memories, and I look forward to helping to create new special memories for our outstanding coaches and student-athletes,” said Giannini. “We have strong traditions of success across many sports and a rapidly ascending university that make the potential for the future seemingly limitless.”
In 2004, Giannini was inducted into the Rowan University-Glassboro State College Hall of Fame. The 1996 national championship basketball team, which ended the season 28-4, also was inducted into the hall last year.
Giannini earned his doctorate in kinesiology, specializing in sport psychology, from the University of Illinois. He earned his master’s degree, also specializing in sport psychology, from the University of North Texas. His bachelor’s degree in psychology is from North Central College in Illinois.
In 1989, Giannini was the graduate assistant for Coach Lou Henson’s Fighting Illini squad that went to the Final Four.
Author of numerous research journal articles and practical articles for coaching publications, Giannini also wrote Court Sense: Winning Basketball’s Mental Game, published in 2008.
Active in the community, Giannini has volunteered his time to raise money for cancer research and ALS. Additionally, he supports Philadelphia Youth Basketball and Samaritan’s Feet, which works to provide shoes to children around the world.
Dan Gilmore finished his coaching career at Rowan with a record of 559-184-59 that places him seventh on the all-time victories list among all divisions in the NCAA, and fifth in Division III. He led Rowan University to two national championships, in 1981 and 1990, and his teams appeared in 24 NCAA Division III Championship Tournaments. He also led his teams to 13 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships. He was selected as the NJAC Coach of the Year nine times.
Giannini’s appointment as interim athletic director is for a year, at which time the University will assess whether to conduct a national search for a permanent director.