Sometimes as a writer, you find a story that is so unique and surreal, that you simply don’t believe that it could be true. Sometimes you hope you are the one lucky enough to write about it.
Unbeknownst to most, there are two Augustana Vikings basketball teams in the nation. One hails from Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the other is in Rock Island, Illinois. One is in Division II and the other is in Division III. Both are entering the 2015-16 season as No.1 in the preseason polls.
That’s not even the half of it. Tom Billeter, head coach of the DII Augustana UNIVERSITY (SD) Vikings and Grey Giovanine, head coach of the DIII Augustana COLLEGE (Ill.) Vikings started their coaching career together under the tutelage of legendary Arizona Wildcat’s head coach Lute Olsen’s top assistant Scott Thompson. Their five years at Rice University began a friendship that is still strong today.
Billeter’s Vikings came out of nowhere to go 31-3 last year, win both their conference and conference tournament, before being ousted by one point in the regionals of the NCAA tourney. Giovanine’s squad went 27-5, losing in the championship game. Both coach’s teams have a pretty large chip sitting on their shoulder heading into this season.
I was lucky enough to sit down with both coach Billeter and Giovanine and talk about their past together and their present, as they set to open the college basketball season. The story is as good as it sounds, folks, so check out the interview only at NCAA.com by clicking on the link below: