Rick Malnati steps down at Fenwick, Staunton Peck takes over

Fenwick's head coach Rick Malnati calls out an offense play against Young in the Like Mike Invitational at Chicago Navy Pier, November 26, 2017 Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

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
1996-1997: 19-9
1997-1998: 23-7
1998-1999: 24-4
1999-2000: 26-5
2000-2001: 19-8
2001-2002: 25-8, fourth in Class AA
2002-2003: 18-9
2003-2004: 13-14
2004-2005: 15-15
2005-2006: 12-16
2006-2007: 20-8
2007-2008: 19-8
Total: 233-111

at Fenwick
2013-2014: 22-9
2014-2015: 22-8
2015-2016: 28-3
2016-2017: 30-5, second in Class 3A
2017-2018: 20-8
Total: 122-33

Overall: 355-144



  • Frank Hughes

    Moved out here 5 years ago from pennsylvania where i coached for many years. Having no connection to the school or the area but Living by Fenwick I had the privilege of going to many games. Obviously a great coach: players were very sound fundamentally and teams always played the “right” way. Especially loved that 1-3-1 trap. Have to believe he will but hard to replace but best wishes and good luck to Coach Peck. I will miss watching Malnati teams.

  • Clyde The Glide

    Malnati did a great job. His team was always competitive. It’s great to control your own destiny in coaching. Best of luck in your future endeavors Coach.

  • rickb

    Have known Rick Malnati for over 20 years as an assistant and head coach at New Trier. His teams were always well prepared and played the game the right way. His kids respected the game with great dignity whether winning or losing. He was one of the finest coaches and gentleman that the State has ever seen. Good luck in future endeavors

  • Robbie

    I can see DJ steward going to the Public League

  • Fenwick Rich Kid

    This guy was a white privilege coach for white privilege players. He couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag if the players weren’t already trained by daddy paying for it. The Chicago area basketball scene will be better off without him.

    • HS BB fan

      You, my friend, are a complete idiot. And I’m pretty sure you have no connection to Fenwick except for maybe your team got whipped by one of Malnati’s Friar teams (and if your team is a CCL team, it happened over and over and over and over…….

    • Reality check

      Great point, other than the fact that mist of his best players.at Fenwick were black.

    • Reality check

      Great point, other than the fact that most of his best players.at Fenwick were black. T

  • NT FAN

    I played for Coach Malnati and with Peck at NT. Rick really is one of the best in the biz. Best of luck to both him and Staunton!

  • Duke Carnoustie

    Malnati’s reputation is well deserved. That final vs. Morgan Park was a classic even though Dosunmu didn’t play. I remember Peck well as a player and he gave my Wildkits fits. He has big shoes to fill.

  • formerfriar

    Best of luck Coach Malnati!

  • BBHuskie

    All of Malnati’s teams, at New Trier as well as Fenwick, had talented players. But all of his teams played better than the sum of their parts. A true compliment to him in getting players to buy into his team first philosophy.
    If Malnati is ready for a real challenge, I would love to see the AD at NIU entice him to take over as head coach. With Malnati’s basketball acumen and energy, he’ll recruit Illinois players and restore pride and success to the Huskie program, just as John McDougal did in the 70’s and 80’s.

  • Leegs1

    Maybe Bolingbrook can hire him!

  • friartown

    Malnati did great things during his five years at Fenwick. Completely changed the culture and established one that was centered around being a great team and winning. Was a great influence to the players and school. Nothing but thanks to that man.

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