Looking at things with a much different perspective, all is well in Grey Giovanine's world these days.
Not only is he on the mend from recent surgery for prostate cancer, but he picked up a prestigious coaching honor this week.
For the third time in the last five seasons, Giovanine has been tabbed by Basketball Times as the NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year.
“It's quite humbling and exciting,” said Giovanine of the most recent honor. “Basketball Times has been around for years and covered college basketball at the highest level. To be honored by them is something really special.”
Giovanine led the 2018-19 Vikings to a 26-4 record, the program’s fifth consecutive CCIW championship — something never previously accomplished in the 73-year history of the league. The Vikings also marked their sixth-straight 20-win season and NCAA Division III Tournament appearance, and a trip to Sweet 16 for the fifth year in a row.
“It's an award that really acknowledges the efforts of everybody in our program,” said Giovanine. who sports a 415-142 record in 20 seasons with the Vikings, including a CCIW mark of 202-84 that places him third all-time in league wins and winning percentage (.706). “My big thing is congratulations to everybody associated with Augustana basketball. To have that kind of acknowledgment is really neat.”
While excited about that honor on the heels of a terrific season, Giovanine is even more thrilled with his health situation.
“Surgery was successful, and the prognosis is excellent,” said Giovanine. “I'm back home and getting stronger every day.”
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The 59-year-old admitted that the recovery is “way harder than I thought. You can't begin to anticipate how debilitating that surgery is.”
He said it is still slow going and even short walks are major milestones, as was a visit to his office this week.
“The other day I walked to the end of my driveway and was playing the 'Rocky' theme song I was so fired up,” said the coach. “That's how low the bar is for me right now.”
He had the surgery on March 19 at the Mayo Clinic and was released the following day as all pathology reports came back clean. He was back in Rochester, Minnesota, for a follow-up appointment this past Tuesday with more positive reports.
“I'm essentially good to go,” said Giovanine, who met with his basketball team on Thursday evening. “I still have to have blood work done every three months for a year just to make sure everything stays good.”
The Vikings graduate four seniors from this season's squad, but Giovanine is looking forward to getting into the gym in May with a strong nucleus of returners who begin preparations for the team's overseas trip in June.
Over the past five years, Augustana has compiled a 131-26 (.834) overall record, a 62-14 (.816) mark in CCIW play, a 17-5 record in NCAA Tournament action and played in NCAA Division III Championship contests in 2015 and 2017. Giovanine was Basketball Times’ Division III national Coach of the Year in 2015 and captured the same award from D3hoops.com in 2017.