Overseas star now coaching at Marian


Ligibett Diaz, Freelance Writer

Drake Diener, the head men’s basketball coach at Marian University, has extensive basketball knowledge. Following in the footsteps of Mark Boyle, former basketball coach of the men’s team for 30 years, Diener brings a new perspective to the program. Since fall of 2018, he has increased recruitment efforts by bringing in new talent for his second season here. The most important thing he looks for in a recruit is someone who is “constantly in the gym.”  

Diener, is a Fond du Lac native, where he played for his father at Fond du Lac High School. He went on to play college basketball, and he moved overseas to play professional basketball for twelve years. 

For eleven of those years he played in Italy, and two of those years, he played for Orlandina Basket. He also spent one year playing in Spain for Basket Zaragoza. While in Italy, he won two championships, earned most valuable player, and eventually retired as the all-time leading scorer in Italian series A. His success was earned and not just handed to him, as he spent countless hours in the gym, which contributed to this thriving career. 

“I grew up in the gym all the time, with my dad, brothers, and cousins,” said Diener.  Because of this experience, he strongly believes in finding players that are similarly dedicated to the sport as much as he was, and still is today. 

“It can’t be like an intramural thing, it has to be like when you are out of season, you are working out, and when in season you are really working hard.” He knows what it takes to be successful because of these countless hours in the gym, with not only his teammates but with his family. 

Diener comes from a family that is known for basketball. The Diener Legacy is a name that his family has earned through generations full of successful athletes, or as Diener says, “in-breeds.” His cousins and siblings have played for Division I and Division II basketball teams. One of his cousins also played pro basketball overseas along with him. 

Diener’s father has also set a name for himself as he has won six conference championships and has six consecutive National Tournament appearances while coaching at Cardinal Strict University. Now, Diener wants to set forth his own legacy with Marian University basketball team. 

Diener plans to make sure that the men’s team is motivated throughout the year by bringing in fresh faces to bring new perspectives to the team. He wants to push the idea of working hard during the season but to work even harder in the off-season. 

“Instilling in them that it is a competitive situation not only with us and other teams, but within the team.” He wants to motivate the players to work hard for their spot because of the size of the roster. Diener really wants to push the idea that “more important than having talent is to stand for the right thing.”