The winningest coach in Gustavus Adolphus College men’s basketball history – Mark Hanson – announced Monday that he will retire as the head coach after the 2021-22 season.
“It has been an honor to have followed Mark’s basketball teams and their success during my 30 years here at Gustavus,” Athletic Director Tom Brown said. “The Gustavus community has been fortunate to have Mark lead the basketball program for the past 32 years. He is a tremendous leader of young men who has helped guide countless student-athletes through their college experiences and on to successful careers.”
When former Athletic Director Moose Malmquist called Hanson in 1986 and asked if he’d be interested in an assistant coaching role, Hanson responded, “Sure, I’ll try it for a year.” After four years as an assistant, he was offered the head coaching position, which turned into a 32-year career.
“When I told Moose Malmquist that I would try this job for a year I never envisioned that I would do it for 36 years and interact with fabulous student-athletes, administrators, faculty and staff,”
Hanson said. “I have no idea what I did to deserve this opportunity and I am honored to have been able to do it for this long – and win a few games along the way. However it is time for someone else to have the privilege of guiding this program.”
Since taking the program’s reins in 1990, Hanson has become the winningest coach in Gustavus basketball history with a record of 529-315 overall and 403-216 in the MIAC entering Monday night’s matchup at Augsburg. He is currently the seventh winningest active coach in NCAA Division III and ranks 45th all-time in Division III.
“This place and program, our coaches, alumni and players have been a significant part of my life for the past 40 years,” Hanson said. “It is with a mix of emotions that I make this decision.”
Hanson, an eight-time MIAC Coach of the Year, led the Gusties to seven MIAC regular season championships, seven MIAC playoff championships, and 11 NCAA tournament appearances. His teams reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament six times and the national quarterfinals three times, highlighted by a national runner-up finish in the 2002-03 season.
Hanson coached four MIAC Players of the Year, eight All-Region honorees, and three All-Americans. In addition to athletic achievements, Hanson coached two Jostens’ Award finalists (Marc Newell, 1999; Trevor Wittwer, 2008), which recognizes the top Division III men’s basketball player in the nation based on academics, athletics, and community involvement. Hanson has not only impacted his basketball players, but also the general student body at Gustavus by teaching outdoor experiential education courses and serving on numerous campus-wide committees and working groups.
In addition to his success as a coach, Hanson was inducted into the Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame as an athlete in 1998 as the most prolific scorer in Gustavus men’s basketball history. The Dodge Center, Minn. native compiled 1,774 points in 94 games from 1979-83. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) named him to its All-America teams in both 1982 and 1983. Hanson is one of three men’s basketball players in MIAC history to earn All-Conference honors all four seasons. An excellent student, Hanson was named to both the CoSIDA Academic All-America team and the NAIA Academic All-America squad in 1983.
“I believe that the present players and coaches in the program are in a fabulous position to continue the success that has occurred regularly over the past three decades,” Hanson said. “I look forward to watching their success and feeling the pride and joy I have always felt about being a Gustie.”
The process for hiring the next head coach for the Gustavus men’s basketball program will be addressed at the completion of the season.
The public is invited to Gus Young Court on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. to help commemorate Coach Hanson’s last regular season home game versus St. Scholastica. Following the game, there will be an informal social on campus either in Lund Center or the Jackson Campus Center. The location will be announced during the game.
(info and photo courtesy of Gusties Athletics)