MANKATO — Matt Margenthaler said he’s happy to be the men’s basketball coach at Minnesota State, but others have speculated that he might be in the mix for the head-coaching position at his alma mater, Western Illinois.
“Being an alum, my name is going to pop up there,” Margenthaler said. “I have had no contact with Western. I have a great job at Minnesota State.”
Two bloggers have listed Margenthaler among the possibilities to replace Jim Molinari, who left Division I Western Illinois this week and is rumored to be joining Tim Miles’ staff at Nebraska.
Margenthaler attended Western Illinois from 1989-91, and his father Jack coached there from 1977-92 and was inducted into that university’s hall of fame in 2005. Margenthaler has been at Minnesota State for 13 seasons, compiling a 284-115 record (71.2 winning percentage) and tying with Dan McCarrell for the most coaching victories in program history.
The Mavericks have qualified for the NCAA tournament nine of the 10 seasons, reaching the national semifinals in 2011.
Last season, the Mavericks set a program record with 30 victories and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Mavericks have two returning starters in point guard Zach Monaghan and center Assem Marei, as well as top reserves Zach Romashko and T.J. Okafor and six players who were redshirting last season.
Minnesota State athletic director Kevin Buisman said that no other programs have contacted him about Margenthaler, which would be the standard protocol for interviewing someone who is under contract.
Margenthaler, who will turn 47 today, has two years remaining on a contract that pays about $100,000. The Western Illinois job would probably pay twice that.
It’s possible that Minnesota State could extend Margenthaler’s contract. It used to be that a 4-year contract was the most that a coach could be offered, but there is now a 6-year option available.