Former Hill-Murray Boy’s Basketball Coach to be Inducted into Hall of Fame
Despite being the winningest coach in the history of Hill-Murray boys basketball, Dick Ghizoni’s former players will be the first to tell you that success wasn’t measured by the scoreboard.
“He taught us that it is not about the end result,” says 2011 Hill-Murray alumni and basketball standout Jimmy Remke. “It’s how you get there and how you carry yourself along the way. He made me earn everything. He developed us personally, professionally and showed me how to act in the world. Outside of my parents, he had one of the biggest influences in developing me.”
Remke is one of hundreds of athletes Ghizoni has developed over his 33 years as a boy’s head basketball coach; seven of those years right here at Hill-Murray. On October 29th, his years of dedication, service and leadership will be recognized as he officially enters the Minnesota Boys Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremonies will be held at the MBCA Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, October 29, 2 pm at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency Hotel.
During his last six years as the Pioneer’s head coach from 2009-2014, Hill-Murray averaged an impressive 17 wins per season. Remke’s senior season in 2010-11, the team went undefeated in conference, losing just one game shy of the state tournament to top-ranked Johnson. No matter how disappointing the loss, Coach Ghizoni always had one message for his players.
“Just play your best,” Ghizoni says. “If you’ve done all you can, you can hold your head high.”
Ghizoni began coaching right after Graduating from St. Thomas College where he also played basketball. He spent a couple years as a JV or assistant coach at St. Thomas College, Holy Angels and DeLaSalle, before taking the head basketball and baseball coaching jobs at St. Agnes High School in 1980. During his 23 years there, his basketball teams won more than 300 games, five conference championships, two state tournament berths and one state championship. No one won more boys basketball games at St. Agnes than Ghizoni.
“He always made me feel comfortable and instilled confidence in me,” says Marlon McCoy, a four-year varsity player, Mr. Basketball Finalist and member of the St. Agnes 1994 State Championship team. “He’d get on you, but build you right back up. He is the reason I coach the way I do.”
“I tried to get them to play as a team, from the leading scorer to the person who didn’t see much time,” recalls Ghizoni. “I wanted them to rely on each other and trust each other.”
When asked what he considers some of his greatest accomplishments, Ghizoni is quick to point to the number of former players who have gone on to coach as well. McCoy who now coaches his daughter’s AAU team, spent four years coaching the Girls’ varsity basketball team at St. Paul Central and served as Ghizoni’s assistant coach at Hill-Murray when Remke was playing.
“The St. Agnes guys were around a lot when I was playing. It was obvious what he meant to them and the bond they had,” says Remke. “When I went on to play in college, I ran into people everywhere that knew Coach Ghizoni and no one ever had a bad word to say about him.”
It was very clear to his players how much they and the game of basketball meant to him.
“I’ll never forget the morning before the State Championship game. I saw him at the end of the hall getting choked up about it being his last game with us,” recalls McCoy.
As for Coach Ghizoni, he is quick to deflect the credit for his storied career.
“You can’t do it alone. There are a lot of coaches I’ve learned from that I’ve either coached with, against or played for over the years,” says Coach Ghizoni. “I’ve also had a lot of good players. And I certainly could not have done any of it without my wife, Ann, who spent many nights alone and never once asked when I was going to retire or quit.”
Ghizoni, who retired as a PhyEd teacher at Hill-Murray 2020, says the school has meant so much to him over the years.
“It is such a caring school,” he says. “I noticed that on my very first day here. You could and still can, feel the togetherness and caring in this community. I really want to thank everyone for all their support over the years, particularly the Backcourt Club.”
This month’s Hall of Fame induction will be Ghizoni’s second. In 2017, he was inducted into the Minnesota Class A Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame.
“Coach Ghizoni is everything high school sports should be,” says Remke. “He’s all about developing kids.”