When one thinks of lifetime achievement in basketball in the state of Illinois, I can’t think of anymore more suited than Gerald “Chips” Giovanine.
Giovanine’s coaching record speaks for itself. He retired in 1994 after 36 years encompassing five decades with a career record of 674-265 and a .718 winning percentage.
He guided unprecedented back-to-back, undefeated Buda Western Rams basketball teams (29-0, 31-0) to the IHSA Class A State Basketball Tournament in the mid-’70s.
He had a third Sweet 16 team at LaSalle-Peru in 1993 and another undefeated regular-season team from Bureau Township, going 28-0 in 1960.
At L-P, he posted 304 wins with nine regionals, five consecutive from 1989-93, along with four successive NCIC titles from 1990-93.
Giovanine’s name has been synonymous with the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association for years on and off the court. He was named as a District Coach of the Year 10 times, has served on the IBCA Board of Directors and now is an honorary member and served as vice president.
Most recently, as reported earlier this month in the BCR, Giovanine was named as the 2014 recipient of the IBCA’s Tom “Buzzy” O’Connor Award. This is award is given to the individual in the IBCA who best exemplifies the true characteristics of a young man who died at age 35 after a battle with leukemia. O’Connor coached for 15 years including stints at Loyola and Notre Dame. He compiled a record of 87-45 at Chicago’s Gordon Tech.
In a press release submitted by Augustana College, where his son, Grey, is head men’s basketball coach, Giovanine said, “I am honored and humbled to receive this recognition. The tangible measure for success in coaching is wins and losses. More importantly, however, were the hearts and minds of young men that I tried to develop to be better people, husbands and fathers after they graduated. You can instill a work ethic and attention to detail that prepares a young man for life.”
Chips was simply an outstanding coach, his teams known for their winning ways.
But, what I most admire about Chips is his genuine love for the game and teaching youth how to play. I’ve seen him work meticulously at summer camps with aspiring players on the proper mechanics for shooting. I like to call him the Shot Doctor.
This is what lifetime achievement is really all about, keeping the game alive in others. Today’s campers along with his former players from years alike continue to benefit from Chips’ lifetime achievement in basketball and the game of life.
• Wanted to give a shoot-out to two of my favorite athletes I’ve covered in these BCR Sports pages for their upcoming nuptials. Good luck Scott Roseberg and Gwen Holmes of Princeton. Couldn’t think of a better match.
Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org