Gus Ganakas Memorial Coaching Award to be given annually to the Outstanding Coach during the NHIBT tournament.
A native of Mount Morris, N.Y., Gus earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Michigan State in 1949, and a master’s degree in the same field in 1950.
Gus became an assistant men’s basketball coach at Michigan State in 1966 before taking over as the head coach three years later-becoming one of the first Greek American Division 1 Head Coaches. He led the team to an overall record of 89-84 in seven seasons as head coach. His most successful seasons were in 1973-74 and 1974-75 when the Spartans posted a 17-9 overall record.
Gus’ coaching career ended in 1976 but continued to be part of the Michigan State Athletic Department. Gus had recruited Greg Kelser before leaving and was instrumental in Earvin (Magic) Johnson and Jay Vincent attending Michigan State.
Thereafter Gus was color commentator of Michigan State Basketball for 30 years. Current Michigan State Head Coach, Tom Izzo, said “There is no doubt that Spartan Basketball wouldn’t be what it is today without Gus Ganakas.”
Gus was 92 and is remembered fondly by his many friends in the Greek American Basketball Community.