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Rockhurst University Names New Head Basketball CoachMay 22, 2015
Rockhurst University Director of Athletics Gary Burns announced Thursday that Drew Diener of Cardinal Stritch University has been named head coach of the Hawks men's basketball program.
“I’d like to thank Fr. Curran, Gary Burns, and the committee for giving me this opportunity,” Diener said. “The mission of the University and its people make Rockhurst the perfect fit for my family and me. In addition, we loved the Kansas City area and what it offers our family.
“I hope to lead the men’s basketball program in a way that will make the University community proud and add to the already strong athletic tradition at Rockhurst. Although it was difficult to leave a great school, program, and group of guys at Stritch, I am fired up to join the team at Rockhurst. I am familiar with the quality of player and coaches in the GLVC and am looking forward to the challenge.”
Diener comes to Rockhurst following a highly successful six-year stint as head coach at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. Diener’s teams captured six Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season titles, three CCAC tournament titles and one national championship. He owns an overall record of 168-43 - a winning percentage of .796 percent, including 95-7 in conference play and 73-8 at home.
“Drew brings successful experience at all levels of collegiate basketball, and I am excited about the future of the Hawks men's basketball program under his leadership,” Burns said.
Diener is the 13th head coach in the history of Rockhurst men’s basketball. He replaces Bill O’Connor, who retired at the end of this season as the winningest coach in school history, with 272 victories over 21 seasons.
Stritch qualified for the national tournament in each of Diener’s six seasons. The Wolves won the NAIA Division II national championship in 2013, advanced to the Elite Eight in 2012 and the Sweet 16 in 2014 and 2015.
In 2012-13, Diener led the Wolves to a 35-3 overall record, a 23-1 CCAC mark in addition to the school’s first NAIA Division II championship. He was named NABC/NAIA UPS National Coach of the Year and Rawlings NAIA Division II Coach of the Year.
Diener has been named the CCAC Coach of the Year five of the past six years. Stritch received the James Naismith-Emil Liston Team Sportsmanship Award at the 2012 national tournament. Diener coached one National Tournament MVP, one National Tournament Hustle Award winner, three CCAC Player of the Year winners, one CCAC Freshman of the Year, four NAIA All-Americans and 20 All-CCAC players.
Diener came to Stritch in 2009 after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia. Prior to that position, he was the Cavaliers’ director of men’s basketball operations for two seasons after leaving DePaul University, where he held the same post as a graduate assistant.
Before entering the college ranks, Diener was an assistant coach at Northridge Prep in Niles, Illinois, for a season. He also served as the assistant director of athletics and assistant golf coach at Northridge Prep.
Diener is a 2003 graduate of Saint Louis University and earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He scored 537 points in four seasons for the Billikens and ranks fifth on SLU’s career 3-point field goal percentage list with his 40-percent clip from beyond the arc. SLU made one trip to the NCAA Division I Tournament and two visits to the NIT during his career. Diener was named the team’s Most Improved Player his junior season.
Diener played at Goodrich High School in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where he was the 1998 Gatorade Wisconsin Player of the Year and an All-America selection by Street & Smith’s. He helped Goodrich, coached by his father, Dick, to four conference titles and a berth in the state quarterfinals as a senior. Diener’s brothers, Derek and Drake, were his teammates during his playing career in Fond du Lac. Diener graduated holding seven school records, including career points (1,505) and single-game scoring (45).
Diener and his wife, Kelly, have two sons, Everett and Roosevelt.