Any conversation about the best coaches in the state always includes Fenwick’s Rick Malnati.
There is now an open spot in that top tier after Malnati, 58, announced last week that he’s stepping down.
Malnati’s reputation was earned during a long, successful run at New Trier and polished in the last five seasons at Fenwick. His career record of 355-144 backs up the talk.
The Friars were 122-33 under Malnati. They went 30-5 in 2016-17 and took second place in Class 3A, the best finish in school history. Malnati’s tenure featured a 38-game winning streak against Catholic League opponents that stretched over three years.
Fenwick assistant Staunton Peck, a New Trier graduate, will take over the program.
‘‘Five years ago, Staunton Peck and I got a chance to come to Fenwick to coach basketball,’’ Malnati said. ‘‘I originally told [Fenwick athletic director] Scott Thies that I would commit to three years and then Staunton would take over. I was having so much fun, I stayed five.’’
Peck played for Malnati at New Trier and went on to play at Hamilton College in New York.
‘‘I am extremely excited to take on the role of head basketball coach at Fenwick,’’ Peck said. ‘‘I am grateful for all the mentoring that Rick Malnati has given me as a person and basketball coach throughout the past five years and beyond. He is an incredible coach and an even better person. I hope to carry on the great culture he has established over the past five years.’’
Peck is well-liked and highly thought of around the area, but he will have his hands full living up to Malnati’s success. His first order of business will be holding on to the talent at Fenwick. It’s transfer season, and rumors are swirling around the Friars.
Rick Malnati’s coaching career
at New Trier
2001-2002: 25-8, fourth in Class AA
2016-2017: 30-5, second in Class 3A
Overall: 355-144Tags: Fenwick