Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University men’s basketball coach Keith Bunkenburg learned from legends. Wednesday in Wisconsin, he moved closer to becoming one.
Bunkenburg earned career win No. 300 on January 7 when the Benedictine University’s men’s basketball team defeated Wisconsin Lutheran 73-57 in a Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference game in Milwaukee. The win puts him among the 250 winningest active coaches in the NCAA regardless of level.
“Keith has had a tremendous presence in our athletic department, first as an outstanding student-athlete and as an incredible coach, leader, and role model for many of our student-athletes,” Benedictine Director of Athletics Mark McHorney said. “His leadership of our men’s basketball program is evidenced by the tremendous success it has had on the court and in the classroom.
“Winning 300 games is a tremendous achievement, and we could not be more proud of that as well as the example he provides for our athletes, students and staff,” he added.
Bunkenburg, who was named Benedictine men’s basketball head coach in 1995, is now 300-211 (.587 winning percentage) during his 19-plus-year career. His teams have won six regular-season or conference tournament titles and made four NCAA tournament appearances.
“I have been blessed to coach so many great student-athletes,” Bunkenburg said. “I have also had so many great coaches help me along the way. Our current staff (Stephen Kollar, Matt Jones, Joe Fano and Frank Janczak) is doing a great job.
“Matt and Frank have seen a lot of these wins along with the losses,” he added. “I am grateful to both of them for sticking with me this long.”
A native of Chicago and 1989 graduate of Benedictine, Bunkenburg played for Illinois high school legend Max Kurland at St. Patrick High School on the city’s Northwest Side before coming to Lisle, where he played for Benedictine’s all-time winningest basketball coach, Tony LaScala.
Kurland was 658-275 during his 29-year career at St. Patrick, while LaScala won 385 games during his 29 seasons at Benedictine.
“They were both big influences in my career,” Bunkenburg said. “They knew how to treat their players. Basketball for them was about playing great competition and providing their players with memories that last a lifetime.”
Benedictine University recently made a multimillion-dollar commitment toward upgrading its athletics facilities, including a renovation of the Rice Center Arena.
“I am proud of what this program has accomplished and will do in the future,” Bunkenburg said. “If not for the players, coaches, staff and administration, this would not be possible. I am lucky to be at a university that cares so much for the students and their experience.”
As a player at Benedictine, Bunkenburg was a three-time all-conference honoree and four-year starter who ranks ninth on the school’s career scoring list (1,432) and second in all-time assists (497).
He was a key contributor on the 1987-88 team that won 21 games, the second-most in school history and a feat he has achieved twice as a coach (2004-05, 2010-11).
“Keith has been a valued member of the community as a student and staff member,” said Marco Masini, vice president for Student Life at Benedictine University. “We are proud of the accomplishments he has achieved on the court, but more proud of the victories he has had in providing a positive Benedictine University experience to all the students he has coached.”
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.