Gigante accepts Shrine coaching job with ambitions of turning program around

By: Mike Moore | Royal Oak Review | Published July 3, 2012


ROYAL OAK — He thinks things can be very different.

In fact, he believes they will be, very quickly.

Wayne Gigante is roughly three weeks into his tenure as the Royal Oak Shrine girls basketball coach.

He hasn’t been part of one game yet with the Ravens.

He hasn’t even conducted his first official practice.

But one thing’s for sure — he likes what he sees.

“I got my first look at the kids over the past couple weeks with some gym time, and despite the record they had last year and the struggle to score points, I really think this is a very talented group,” Gigante boasted. “I think we’re in a very good position.”

Gigante is no stranger to the sideline.

The Shelby Township resident has coached basketball at various levels for the past 11 years. He spent the better part of the last three years at Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, amassing a 51-6 record in that time and a trip to the 2011 Class C state final, before resigning during the season last winter for personal reasons.

A fresh start, both for himself and for a Shrine team that was 4-19 last year, is what he thinks is best for both parties.

“I think this is a great challenge for everyone,” he said. “The key right now is changing the culture of how we play. We’re going to be more aggressive. We’re going to attack defensively, and we want to attack offensively, as well. … We’re going to stay busy over the summer, get in the gym as much as we’re allowed to, and work and work and work at getting this turned around.”

Shrine Athletic Director Tim Dobrzeniecki said hiring a “proven winner” was a big reason why Gigante got the job.

“And he’s already done a great job getting to know the girls and laying out the expectations for this program,” Dobrzeniecki said. “We’re excited to have him on board.”

Asked to compare the opportunity at Shrine to the success he had at Liggett, Gigante said there are plenty of similarities.

“It took a lot of work, but we built that thing up at Liggett to where it is now,” he said. “There’s no reason we can’t do many of the same things here. We have a great facility, great people, everything you need to have the opportunity to be successful. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t believe this could be a special program.”