Malnati enjoying Ramblers' run

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Marty Farmer

Sports Editor

Most casual basketball fans around the area know that, prior to becoming the boys head basketball coach at Fenwick High School, Rick Malnati excelled as the head coach at his high school alma mater, New Trier.

But did you know that, sandwiched between those two plum high school hoops gigs, Malnati worked for two years on the Loyola University Chicago men's basketball staff? Yes, those beloved Ramblers, who have captured the imagination of not only college basketball fans but folks who love inspirational stories, with their improbable run to the NCAA Tournament Final Four.

In 2011, Malnati worked as assistant to Loyola head coach Porter Moser and became an assistant coach the following season.

"I learned a ton from Porter," Malnati said. "I was also able to watch a lot of film of what other coaches and teams do. The experience I had at the college level broadened my understanding of the game."

The Ramblers (32-5), one of the best Cinderella stories in NCAA tournament history, join perennial powers Michigan, Kansas and Villanova at the Alamodome in San Antonio for this weekend's Final Four.

Loyola is vying for its second NCAA Division I championship. The Ramblers beat two-time defending national champion Cincinnati 60-58 in overtime in the 1963 NCAA championship game. River Forest resident John Egan started at point guard for Loyola that magical season.

While Moser, top players Clayton Custer and Donte Ingram and, of course, team chaplain Sister Jean share the headlines for this year's Ramblers, Malnati can feel pride knowing he helped build this basketball powerhouse that nobody saw coming.

As for Moser, he has always been a fan of Malnati, who has made a seamless transition from the Jesuits at Loyola to the Dominicans at Fenwick.

"Not only was he a valuable member of the staff, but he was also a good friend," Porter said about Malnati's hiring at Fenwick. "Rick has the ability to impact people's lives and I know he will do just that at Fenwick."

Loyola takes on Michigan, Saturday, March 31, in the first national semifinal game. The game will be televised at 5:09 p.m. on TBS.

FitzGerald's Nightclub will show the game on their big projection screens in the nightclub, SideBar and tent. FitzGerald's is located at 6615 W. Roosevelt on the Berwyn side. For more information, call 708-788-2118 or visit

Go Ramblers!

Marty Farmer

Email: Twitter: @OakParkSports

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad