By: Taylor Bettencourt
With years of experience at the collegiate level, the Baron’s men’s head basketball coach, John Lamanna, hopes to use the very mission of Franciscan University of Steubenville to bring the Barons to victory this upcoming season.
Originally from Washington, Lamanna has been playing basketball since he was a young boy, where he developed a love and passion for the game that has only grown throughout the years.
“I played all throughout when I was growing up,” Lamanna said. “I started playing basketball when I was in kindergarden, in the little leagues, but I played all the way up into high school. There’s really no other game like it out there. The amount of scoring that happens in basketball, the speed of the game, the transition of the game which leads to the strategy of ‘how do you become successful in that?’ that’s what drove my initial passion.”
With this passion, Lamanna ended up working for the basketball team at Washington State University while he attended school there.
“Working for the team at Washington State got me my next coaching job at Loyola Marymont (University),” said Lamanna, who then moved on to a coaching position at the University of California for five years. Overall, he has twelve years of collegiate coaching experience.
For Lamanna, coaching has been a way for him to influence the lives of many young men. As one who has always desired to become a teacher and still hopes to do so in the future, he believes coaching has been a vehicle for him to do just that.
“Instead of an academic classroom, my classroom is the basketball court, and I teach the game of basketball, Lamanna said. “But more importantly I’m truly teaching life lessons because of how basketball is ever-changing and so is life.”
With this in mind, Lamanna hopes to implement passion, unity, gratitude, servitude and humility in the team this season in order that the players can reflect these qualities not just on the basketball court but in all walks of life.
It was this desire to teach and influence young men, as well as his faith life that lead Lamanna here to Franciscan University of Steubenville.
“I was looking for a better fit professionally, for an institution that would attract student athletes that I could fill, that I could work with, in a deeper level in terms of mind, body and spirit,” Lamanna said. “It was this atmosphere, this environment, this culture that drew me here. An opportunity to coach basketball in this culture is really a dream come true.”
Although last year’s season didn’t produce a win for the Barons, Lamanna is optimistic about the upcoming year. He said that last season was a time of building the foundation for the program, and noted that with each game the Barons consistently got better and better.
“Our record doesn’t really show just how hard our guys worked last year, how much we improved and got better,” Lamanna said. “We mainly just ran out of time in the season.”
With this positive attitude, Lamanna aims to start this season right where the team left off from last year. He plans on adding some new looks on offense and defense in the hopes of scoring better and bringing in some victories.
Lamanna also said he’s excited for this upcoming season as it will be the second year that the Barons will be a full-fledged NCAA Division III team. This year the Barons will also be entering on the national stage as they will attend the Hopsville Classic in November, which is one of the top national preseason tournaments in the country.
Be on the lookout for the start of the basketball season in November. Go Barons!