NPU assistant gets call from SMU

More news about: North Park | St. Mary-s (Minn.)
Joe Fano (right) was part of Keith Bunkenberg's staff at Benedictine when the Eagles reached the Division III national championship game.
Benedictine athletics photo

Joe Fano helped build winning programs as an assistant coach at two Division III schools. Now he'll try to build one of his own as the new head men's basketball coach at St. Mary's (Minn.).

Timothy Gossen, the university's vice president for mission and student life, announced the hiring via release on Aug. 20.

"Joe's experience, excellent reputation, and valuable connections made him a perfect fit for this position, and we hope his winning traditions continue at Saint Mary's," Gossen said in the school's release.

Fano was an assistant coach at Benedictine under Keith Bunkenberg for two seasons, including the 2015-16 campaign when the Eagles went 31-1 and finished as national runners-up. He then spent the last two seasons as the associate head coach at North Park and helped the Vikings go 18-8 with a share of the CCIW title in 2016-17.

He takes over a St. Mary's program that finished last season on a 24-game losing streak and has not finished with a winning record since 1986-1987 when the Cardinals went 13-12. The Cardinals have had just two winning seasons since moving to the NCAA in 1982-1983. Fano replaces Jamison Rusthoven who went 23-101 in five seasons.

St. Mary's opens the season on Nov. 10 at Crown.