Talk about a plethora of basketball knowledge, and success, in Erie’s small college men’s basketball, though one era came to an end.
At the end of this season, Edinboro’s Greg Walcavich, Gannon’s John Reilly, Mercyhurst’s Gary Manchel and Penn State Behrend’s Dave Niland have collected a total of 1,615 victories in a combined 89 seasons of coaching. Walcavich, in his 24th season at Edinboro, announced his retirement Wednesday. He coached five years at Birmingham Southern and two at West Virginia Wesleyan. Reilly had 12 seasons as head coach at Brescia (Ky.) before coming to Gannon in 2005, while Manchel, in his 10th season at Mercyhurst, headed UMass-Lowell for nine seasons. Niland has been at Division III Behrend all 19 seasons as a head coach.
The total mark of 1,615-948 is a .630 winning percentage. The foursome has collected numerous conference titles, and all have had teams in the NCAA tournaments, with Walcavich (Birmingham Southern) and Reilly (Brescia) guiding their clubs to NAIA tournaments. Niland’s Behrend squad collected the AMCC crownwith a 63-60 win over Medaille to claim a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament, where they l0st at No. 20 Wooster 62-44 on March 2. Walcavich, Reilly and Manchel have all three of their teams in the postseason.
Walcavich finished with a mark of 584-314 in 31 seasons (.650). The Rutgers ’73 graduate is 430-251 (.631) as the all-time leader at Edinboro, 18-10 this season.
Reilly, from Bowie State, is 373-231 (.617) in 20 seasons, 141-86 (.621) at Gannon including 22-6 this season. The highlight was a 30-4 season in 2008-09 when the Knights advanced to the Elite Eight.
Manchel is 295-240 (.551) after his 19th season. The Vermont graduate is the all-time leader at Mercyhurst with a 164-115 mark (.588), 16-13 this season, which ended with a PSAC playoff loss to Edinboro.
Niland, who played against Gannon at LeMoyne (N.Y.), is 363-162 (.691) at Behrend, finishing this season 20-9 after a sixth NCAA D-III tournament appearance.
- Bob Jarzomski