Jack Margenthaler,2005 - With more than 200 victories between 1977 and 1992, Jack Margenthaler is recognized as one of the most successful basketball coaches in Western Illinois history. Only one coach has earned more conference titles or more career wins than Margenthaler.
A former Drake University assistant coach and head coach at LaSalle-Peru High School, where he amassed a 138-27 record, Margenthaler spent 15 years as the Leathernecks’ head coach, winning 221 games and three straight Mid-Continent Conference titles. His 1981-82 squad captured the league’s first regular season Division I crown, and the following year his Leathernecks won the league’s inaugural postseason tournament. Fourteen of his 15 seasons saw at least 10 victories while seven years witnessed at least 15 wins. In 10 Division I seasons with the Mid-Con, he developed 16 all-conference players, one player of the year, one newcomer of the year, and was named Coach of the Year following a 20-11 campaign in 1982-83 - his third consecutive conference championship.
Margenthaler’s teams were characterized by consistency, as they still hold school records for best free throw percentage, field goal percentage and rebounding average in a season. His 1981 and 1982 squads won back-to-back Division I free throw titles, but his 1979-80 team holds the school record of 78.8 percent. Six of the top seven career free throw shooters in Western’s record book came under Margenthaler , as did five of the top 11 all-time scorers.
Since his days at Western, Margenthaler spent 11 years coaching at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, and now enjoys watching his two sons coach - Matt, in his fourth year as head coach at Minnesota State-Mankato, and Ty, in his fifth season as an assistant coach with Bradley’s women’s program.