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Gus Ganakas

Augustus George Ganakas (July 3, 1926 – January 11, 2019) was an American sports broadcaster and Michigan State Spartans men's basketball coach.[1] He was the head coach there from 1969 to 1976.[2]

Gus Ganakas
Biographical details
Born(1926-07-03)July 3, 1926
Mount Morris, New York
DiedJanuary 11, 2019(2019-01-11) (aged 92)
Lansing, Michigan
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1969–1976Michigan State
Head coaching record


Early lifeEdit

Ganakas was born on July 3, 1926 in Mount Morris, New York to Greek immigrant parents.[3][4] He attended Michigan State University (MSU) from 1946 to 1950 after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.


Gus taught and coached basketball at East Lansing High School, where he won the 1958 State of Michigan High School Championship, posting an undefeated season. In 1964 he became the Coordinator of the Ralph Young Fund, MSU's athletic fund-raising organization. A passion for sports led him back to the world of basketball when Coach John Benington hired him as his MSU assistant basketball coach in 1966. Three years later, with the sudden death of Coach Benington, Gus became the head basketball coach for the Spartans, from 1969 to 1976, compiling an 89–84 record. He was dismissed as head coach due to a lack of success with player recruiting on March 16, 1976.[5] Also he trained in Uruguay.

As of the 2015-16 season, Ganakas had spent 31 years as a radio analyst on the Spartan Sports Network.[6] He was an active member of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.[7] From 1976 to 1998, he served as assistant athletics director and from 1998 to 2000, Ganakas served as a special assistant to head coach Tom Izzo, directing the activities surrounding Michigan State basketball's centennial in 1998–99.[6]

In 2002, Ganakas became the sixth recipient of the Men's Basketball Distinguished Alumnus Award.[8]

Personal life and deathEdit

Ganakas was married to his wife Ruth who died in 2014.[9]

Ganakas resided in the Lansing area.[7] He died on January 11, 2019.[10]

Head coaching recordEdit


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten Conference) (1969–1976)
1969–70 Michigan State 9–15 5–9 T–6th
1970–71 Michigan State 10–14 4–10 T–7th
1971–72 Michigan State 13–11 6–8 T–5th
1972–73 Michigan State 13–11 6–8 T–6th
1973–74 Michigan State 13–11 8–6 T–4th
1974–75 Michigan State 17–9 10–8 5th
1975–76 Michigan State 14–13 10–8 4th
Michigan State: 89–84 49–57
Total: 89–84


  1. ^ "Gus Ganakas Named Michigan State Coach". The Hartford Courant. September 20, 1969. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  2. ^ "Spartans proving they're up there where they belong". The Providence Journal. March 30, 2005. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  3. ^ Seibold, Jack (2003). Spartan Sports Encyclopedia. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 908. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  4. ^ "Former Michigan State Coach Gus Ganakas Passed away at 92". The National Herald. January 15, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  5. ^ "Stolz quits; Ganakas fired," United Press International, Tuesday, March 16, 1976.
  6. ^ a b "Michigan State Radio | Spartan Sports Network | Big Ten Radio". Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  7. ^ a b "DSBA Member Roster". Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  8. ^ "Michigan State Basketball Hands Out Awards At Annual Bust". Michigan State University. March 12, 2002. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "Ruth Ganakas obituary".
  10. ^ Solari, Chris (January 11, 2019). "Gus Ganakas, former MSU basketball coach, dies at age 92". Lansing State Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2019.