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St. Leo's basketball coach full of enthusiasm for new job

By JAMAL THALJI

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 21, 2001


SAINT LEO -- He was offered his first collegiate head coaching job Thursday. On Friday, he accepted it. He was already at work Saturday, scouting potential recruits. Early Monday morning, he was in the hospital with his wife as she gave birth to their second child. That evening, he met his new players for the first time.

SAINT LEO -- He was offered his first collegiate head coaching job Thursday. On Friday, he accepted it. He was already at work Saturday, scouting potential recruits. Early Monday morning, he was in the hospital with his wife as she gave birth to their second child. That evening, he met his new players for the first time.

It has been a hectic few days in the life of Saint Leo University's new men's basketball coach. But Mike Madagan wouldn't have it any other way.

"I usually thrive that way," Madagan said. "But this has been a little busier than normal."

Yes, and it's only going to get busier after Saint Leo athletic director Fran Reidy announced Monday that Madagan, a 35-year-old assistant men's basketball coach coach at the University of South Florida, has accepted the Lions' head coaching job and the position of compliance coordinator.

Like all coaches at Saint Leo, Madagan signed a rolling one-year contract that is renewed annually. The school would not disclose his salary.

Reidy said he began considering candidates as soon as former coach Mike Hanks resigned earlier this month.

Madagan and Reidy first met in 1989. Madagan was an assistant under former Saint Leo's men's basketball coach Tom Philipps. Reidy was a part-time coach overseeing the soccer program. They stayed in touch as Reidy rose to the rank of athletic director and Madagan moved on to Florida Southern College in 1992, then to the Division I-A South Florida program in 1996.

"Mike was the guy I had targeted and coveted from day one," Reidy said. "Only if he had said no would I have started to actually delve into the other possibilities. I have known Mike; we worked together when he first broke into coaching the same time I did, and I've observed him and watched him and maintained contact over the years."

"I think he's two things," Reidy said. "First, he works extremely hard, and he puts a lot of hours in there. Some guys put in a lot of hours and don't get anything done. Mike puts in a lot of hours and gets a lot done. He can do anything. He's a guy who can handle a lot of tasks at the Division II level, and that's important because you don't have the big staff here."

Madagan said he is pleased to return to where he got his coaching start and is impressed with the changes the school has made since he left.

"I just think it's refreshing, the attitude that's here at Saint Leo," Madagan said. "The Saint Leo I began working at 12 years ago is merely a shadow of the university it is today."

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