UNRIVALED: Coach Pivec Has Mavericks Primed for an Historic Season


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When Jay Pivec became the head basketball coach at MCTC in 1990 the men’s program was coming off a 0-22 season and was in jeopardy of being discontinued entirely.

“The program had become apathetic,” Pivec said. “We had great interest in the community but no idea what we could become.” What they became was the most dominant team in the Minnesota Community College Conference over the next seventeen seasons.

Pivec and his top assistant Ron Gates immediately turned the team around in that first season and haven’t looked back. “We had to piece things together,” Pivec recounted. “I approached it like it was the most important thing in the world to me.”

Since he arrived, Pivec has had seventeen consecutive winning seasons, been named MCCC coach of the year six times and is in the middle of a remarkable streak of 8 straight 20 win seasons. “I don’t mean to boast, but MCTC has no rival in our conference. Other programs have created a rivalry with us. We know that we’re going to be getting the best game out of every team we play.”

“MCTC is a great place to work,” said Coach Pivec from his office in Bowman Hall, where he is also the school’s athletic director. “We have the advantage of proximity in our recruiting. Although our recruiting budget is nil, we’ve been able to bring in kids from all over the twin cities and the surrounding suburbs.”

In fact, MCTC’s basketball program has become the most heralded junior college in the state, having sent dozens of its players on to play at four year schools, including ten players who went on to receive scholarships from division 1 schools. “Our goal here is to have all our guys transfer.”

Referring to his head-coaching job at MCTC Pivec said, “This is [the place] for me. I have a great situation here. I can sense that the faculty and the student body are proud of this team. We have a good reputation. I’m 53-years-old and get to spend my time on a basketball court with 18, 19, 20-year-old kids. Everyone’s looking for a fountain of youth; this is my fountain of youth.”

He went on to say that he thinks the best may be yet to come. “Our goal here every year is to win a national championship.”

This team’s goals are no less ambitious. The Mavericks’s return five players from last year’s team, including starters Nick Ables and Quinton Jackson. “This is one of the best teams we’ve ever had here. I truly believe that.” Said Coach Pivec. The Marauder’s season begins on Nov 1 and has the look and feel of a team that could add a trophy to the already impressive display outside the school gymnasium.

But the history hopefully won’t end there. “I had to be told about it, but I guess that I’m approaching a milestone,” said Pivec modestly. That milestone would be his 500th career victory as a head coach. He enters the 2007-2008 season with 484 wins, needing only sixteen victories to reach that career highlight. After nearly twenty years of sustained success, the team’s players understand the high expectations that this program has set for itself.