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Saint Leo names new coach

In taking the helm of the men's basketball team, current USF assistant Mike Madagan will experience a homecoming.

He was offered his first collegiate head coaching job Thursday. On Friday, he accepted it. He was already at work Saturday, scouting potential recruits. Early Monday morning, he was in the hospital with his wife as she gave birth to their second child. That evening, he met his new players for the first time.

It has been a hectic few days in the life of Saint Leo University's new men's basketball coach. But Mike Madagan wouldn't have it any other way.

"I usually thrive that way," Madagan said. "But this has been a little busier than normal."

Yes, and it's only going to get busier after Saint Leo athletic director Fran Reidy announced Monday that Madagan, a 35-year-old assistant men's basketball coach coach at the University of South Florida, has accepted the Lions' head coaching job and the position of compliance coordinator.

Like all coaches at Saint Leo, Madagan signed a rolling one-year contract that is renewed annually. The school would not disclose his salary.

Reidy said he began considering candidates as soon as former coach Mike Hanks resigned earlier this month.

Madagan and Reidy first met in 1989. Madagan was an assistant under former Saint Leo's men's basketball coach Tom Philipps. Reidy was a part-time coach overseeing the soccer program. They stayed in touch as Reidy rose to the rank of athletic director and Madagan moved on to Florida Southern College in 1992, then to the Division I-A South Florida program in 1996.

"Mike was the guy I had targeted and coveted from day one," Reidy said. "Only if he had said no would I have started to actually delve into the other possibilities. I have known Mike; we worked together when he first broke into coaching the same time I did, and I've observed him and watched him and maintained contact over the years."

"I think he's two things," Reidy said. "First, he works extremely hard, and he puts a lot of hours in there. Some guys put in a lot of hours and don't get anything done. Mike puts in a lot of hours and gets a lot done. He can do anything. He's a guy who can handle a lot of tasks at the Division II level, and that's important because you don't have the big staff here."

Madagan said he is pleased to return to where he got his coaching start and is impressed with the changes the school has made since he left.

"I just think it's refreshing, the attitude that's here at Saint Leo," Madagan said. "The Saint Leo I began working at 12 years ago is merely a shadow of the university it is today."

Madagan got his bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University and his master's from South Florida. At Florida Southern and USF, he ran successful summer camp programs, and at USF, Madagan was in charge of scouting opponents and helped recruit and coach.

Bulls coach Seth Greenberg said Madagan will be missed.

"I have mixed emotions," Greenberg said. "I'm really happy for him because at 35, he needs the opportunity to coach his own team. That's the greatest teacher and the best way to learn, and he aspires to be a Division I coach. But he's never coached his own team, never called a time out, so this is a good opportunity.

"On the other hand, he's so valuable to this team. There was not a facet of the job that he did not excel at. He was more organized than crime, he had a great rapport with the players and he was an excellent teacher. He was magnificent in every aspect of his job."

Madagan is no stranger to Pasco County. A longtime Zephyrhills resident, his wife Georgianna gave birth to their second child, Sarah Lynn, at 2:48 a.m. Monday at East Pasco Regional Medical Center. Their oldest daughter, Hannah, is 2{.

Nine players return to a Lions squad that was 12-15 last season. Madagan will have at least two scholarships to recruit for, and possibly a third when the signing period beings April 11. He also has two assistant coaching vacancies to fill. But first, he'll be in Minneapolis for the annual coaches convention that coincides with the Final Four March 31 and April 2 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

_ Staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.