Ripon College names Kenny Finco new head coach of men’s basketball

Ripon College announces that Kenny Finco has been selected as its next head coach of men’s basketball. He will assume his duties April 3.

For the last six seasons, he has served as an assistant men’s basketball coach and an assistant in the sports performance center at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

“Kenny’s cerebral approach to the game, passion, character and influence at UW-La Crosse were a few of the reasons he rose to the top of a national search that garnered more than 80 candidates,” said Shawn Karsten ’09, vice president for Advancement, Marketing and Communications and chief of staff and chair of the Search Committee. “Furthermore, he understands the magnitude of the moment, becoming only the fourth head men’s basketball coach in more than 50 years. The committee feels confident in Kenny’s commitment to both honoring the legacy of excellence associated with Ripon College basketball while unapologetically moving the program forward with his own philosophies and culture.”

During Finco’s six-year coaching tenure, La Crosse has gone 99-46 overall and 48-28 in the WIAC. In 2021-2022, the Eagles’ 21 overall wins tied the single-season school record for victories. UW-La Crosse has been consistently ranked in the Top 25 for the past three seasons, reaching its highest rankings in program history this year at #3. The Eagles have been selected to the NCAA Tournament twice in the past three tournaments, and advanced to the second round for the first time in program history. Finco played a crucial role in the recruitment, development and preparation of these players over the last six years.

Finco will draw upon this experience and is looking forward to joining the strong basketball tradition at Ripon. “I want to make every player in the program feel valued,” he says. “Everyone on the team is really important and brings value, not only in practice but off the court as well. I am looking forward to the impact I can bring to the men’s basketball program, to keep the program growing and getting better each day.”

Prior to his coaching tenure, Finco earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise sport science with a fitness emphasis at UW-La Crosse, where he was a three-year letter earner. Appearing in 73 career games, including 22 starts, he averaged 7.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in his senior season while playing in all 27 games with 19 starts. He scored in double figures in nine games, including a career-high 21 points versus UW-Stout. He was named to the 2016-17 All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Sportsmanship Team.

The team also won the regular season WIAC title for the first time in 51 years.

“I got into coaching so I could stay around the game of basketball because I love it so much,” Finco says. “Besides winning games, you can have a really big impact on student-athletes. What I enjoy the most about coaching is the camaraderie and helping guide the players through their four years of college.”

Ryan Kane, who just finished his 10th season as head men’s basketball coach and will assume the position of athletic director at Carthage College on April 1, is grateful to have served on the search committee. “I realize how lucky I am to know the program is going to be in capable hands upon my departure,” he says. “I have no doubt in my mind that Kenny was the right choice for the role, and I’m looking forward to assisting him in whatever way I can during the transition period and beyond.”

Finco added, “I’d like to thank each member of the search committee for putting their trust in me to lead the men’s basketball program here at Ripon College. It was very evident throughout the interview process just how special of a place Ripon College is, and I’m excited to get started.”

Finco is a native of Hartland, Wisconsin, where he and his two brothers were introduced early to football, basketball and baseball. He became passionate about basketball as he took up the sport in school.

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